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W.\|. PEELE, 





,Let us pass not though the tarth so fair,' 
Leading no,witness 'the truth to bear 
That we've lived and loved and fcibored here. 










-Si ^ 





,, '' Hj'|!H 

"V ^ 




, A# J) TO 










Speech on the Missouri Compromise. 


Historical Address at the University. 


Address at the University. 

Speech on Slavery and the Union. 


Address: "Early Times in Raleigh." 

Opinion in " Ex parte Bradley." 


Account of a Political Discussion. 



Argument in State vs. Will. 

The Character of the British ; 

An Evening at Seville. 




Surrender at Appomattox. 


Address: " The Old South." 


DAVIE Frontispiece 

MACON facing p. 81 

MURPHY facing p. Ill 

GASTON facing p. 150 

BADGER facing p. 1 s l 

SWAIN facing p. 229 

RUFFIN facing p. 284 

BRAGG facing p. 306 

GRAHAM facing p. 333 

MOORE facing p. 378 

PETTIGREW facing p. 413 

FENDER facing p. :;; 

RAMSEUR facing p. 456 

GRIMES facing p. 495 

HILL facing p. 524 


The publication, in a permanent form, of the most valuable 
sketches and speeches which have been produced in our 
State will aid materially in laying the foundation for a dis- 
tinctive literature. In the beginning, character only is 
essential; art is a development, and will assume its comely 
form in due season if it springs from virtue. The undeserv- 
ing are the fearful and the unbelieving, and these are they 
who are morbidly anxious to graft borrowed ideals of literary 
culture upon the native stock. 

The people are entitled to the sources of history (the 
knowledge of which, in this State, is confined to a very few), 
because from among the people must always arise the man 
who breaks the monopoly which sequesters the facts of public 
interest for private interpretation. 

Failure in some writers to give the sources of information 
and of ideas, and to give credit or quote where these are 
already well expressed, has caused much confusion in the 
historical data of this State. This practice is fatal to any 
considerable literary reputation and an unwitting confession 
of incapacity. 

The educational value of these sketches and speeches, and 
of such as may be published at a later period, is probably 
what will chieflv recommend this undertaking to the con- 

/ C? 

sideration of the public. A good course of home reading 
about worthy men close enough to the reader to stimulate 
his interest can hardly be overvalued, and it is the best sub- 
stitute for the training of the schools as well as a powerful 
assistant in such training. 


It will be remarked that some of the best sketches of our 
distinguished dead have been written to be spoken; but they 
are none the less effectual among North Carolinians, who 
have generally been hearers rather than readers: those, there- 
fore, who have desired their attention have cultivated oratory. 
The style of the effective writer, however, is more condensed 
than that of the orator freer from passion and local preju- 
dice and fitter to paint for posterity pictures of the past. 

To the ladies of the memorial associations of North Caro- 
lina, and to those who have generously responded to the 
honor of their calls, our people are indebted for the collec- 
tion, in the form of addresses, and the consequent preserva- 
tion of some valuable historical matter. This is especially 
true of the Ladies' Memorial Association of Raleigh, as the 
sketches of Grimes, Kamseur, Fender, and Hill, here pub- 
lished, will attest. 

No less deserving are those who of their own accord, or 
at the request of others, have prepared sketches of such as 
have done deeds worthy of remembrance. Born of some 
patriotic North Carolina woman, a man will arise who will 
use the stubborn facts so preserved to bruise the serpent-head 
of false history. 

It will not be understood, of course, that an attempt is 
made in this volume to publish the lives of all distinguished 
North Carolinians there are others, perhaps, as worthy as 
any which here appear; and should this book be approved 
and sufficiently sustained by reading people, another volume 
may be added at some future time. 

My main object will be attained if interest in those who 
have done something worthy of remembrance is stimulated. 

Much of what is called biography and history is a tiresome 
chronicle of the successive advancement in office of some 
who have advanced little in better things. Service, not 


office, is the inspired test of greatness, lie \vlm would be 
greatest among you must be the servant of all. 

In this materialistic age it is nothing strange that some 
North Carolina writers have praised such as have done well 
mainly for themselves; and while I do not remember that, in 
the collection here published, place and station are set forth as 
an end rather than a means to good, yet here, as elsewhere 
and everywhere, the thoughtful reader will be on his guard 
against any squint in favor of false ideals. 

As Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses by the art of 
counterfeiting the symbols of Heaven's appointment, a devil- 
ish power, so this age suffers much from spurious greatness, 
persistently advertised, as bearing the image and superscrip- 
tion of virtue. 

Human limitation is such that a character is sometimes 
worthy of study which only effectually illustrates one great 
virtue growing among defects; and human nature, unless 
morbid, instead of being contaminated, will be encouraged 
that weakness can deserve fame. The defects which criticism 
may discover in any character here portrayed may be used, 
under intelligent guidance, to gain the sympathy of the young 
rather than mar their ideals- which must be composite pic- 
tures of the virtues of many, or else imaged on the soul by 
contemplation of the life and work of One who was the 
Servant of all. 

W. J. P. 


This book is written of North Carolinians by North Caro- 


linians. Many of the writers are no less distinguished than 
their subjects, and these together give it local color, dis- 
tinctive-ness, and personality which ought to make it interest- 
ing to ourselves and valuable to those who seek to know us 
through intrinsic evidence. 

Wherever practicable the subjects are allowed also to speak 
for themselves. " Biography is the only true history," 
says Carlyle. The history of North Carolina has not yet 
been written, and never will be, until each pioneer investi- 
gator confines himself to a short period say a decade. Then, 
eventually, perhaps, some genius for generalization and con- 
densation will arise and in a single life-time combine the 
whole into one work. Meanwhile this generation may bind 
up and preserve the material. 

There is not sufficient political homogeneity among North 
Carolinians at this time to enable us to endorse with unanimity 
the true theory of our history for the past seventy years 
especially in our relation to the General Government. 

This generation, too, is inundated with cheap and often 
insidiously false sectional literature from the North. 

Such literature is gradually glozing over and reconciling 
our people to the sinister changes which are being subtlv 
wrought in American institutions. 

The innovators can now persuade the misinformed and 
careless that just criticism of themselves and their cupidity. 
and just defense of the principles and motives which actuated 


us in the late war between the States, is rank treason against 
the United States Government. 

To publish what our sages and warriors have taught and 
fought for rises, therefore, to the dignity of a duty, as tend- 
ing to correct erroneous impressions common among us and 
still more common among others, and as giving a particular 
account rendered by many witnesses, of men and times to be 
remembered by posterity, rightly or wrongly, forever. 

This introduction is intended to present also a bird's-eye 
view of the field in which were cast the lives and labors of the 
subjects of this book. Incidentally, too, I indicate a theory 
of Southern history which, if not obvious enough upon its 
bare statement, or from the facts here briefly set forth, will 
one day be demonstrated to the satisfaction of the seeker 
after truth. It involves an analysis of the character, influ- 
ence, and interests of the North acting on the South. 

The inoculation of New England semi-foreign views of 
the Federal Constitution (for half New England is foreign 
born) goes on apace. With conceit, born of provincialism, 
these people have magnified their Mayflower scrap of local 
history into national importance; they have dinned it with 
such Codrus-like persistency into our ears that the average 
North Carolinian knows their story better than he does that of 
the settlement of Roanoke Island. We read their books, 
papers, and periodicals, though many reflect upon us, and 
nearly all are unfair to us; but they do not read ours. It 
would be a surprise to the publishers if one hundred copies 
of this book should be sold north of Mason and Dixon's line 
a line which still exists against our literature, our ideas, and 
our construction of fundamental law. Most probably not 
one of their monthlies would publish what I am now writing. 

The most un-American section of the Union is New Eng- 
land. Bounded on the west and north by British Canada and 
on the east by the Atlantic ocean (which may be said now to 


belong also to Great Britain), it is the hotbed of British ideas 
of government and society; and, in the event of a third war 
with the " mother country " (as it still aff ectionately terms 
the nation whose government has always been the enemy of 
our liberty, growth, and progress) it may be a hotbed for a 
hundred times more traitors than it had in the War of 1812. 
Like our great cities, this section is a danger-spot in the Union. 

Many of its political and social leaders vie with those of 
New York in rushing over to England and Germany to get 
the foreign construction of our Federal Constitution, and for- 
eign consent to proposed financial legislation by Congress, 
and foreign sanction of the orders, social preferences and privi- 
leges, and marriages of our " corner "-made aristocracy. 

These leaders, too, are less and less the owners of the wealth 
they handle, and are becoming more and more the mere agents 
of English capitalists and the dupes and tools of foreign mar- 
riage-brokers. About three thousand million dollars of Brit- 
ish capital is said to be invested in a section of the Union. 
This copartnership of foreign and domestic wealth gives to 
Great Britain a voice in our government a representation in 
Congress from whole groups of States. How many North- 
eastern Senators and Representatives have differed in late 
years from British views of what our financial policy should 
be? Foreign and domestic monopolists and bondholders have 
the same interests, the same social sympathies and affinities, 
a -common cause, the same victims and enemies, the same want 
of confidence in popular government; therefore, what doth 
hinder them from forming a treasonable alliance, offensive 
and defensive, against the people? They have already formed 
it: the money-kings in all nations, in control of all kings and 
governments, have an understanding with one another, and, 
by concentration, they can easily crush any movement, for 
amelioration, among the people of any one nation at a time. 


There is a brotherhood, too, of incorporated rate, fare, and tax 
collectors as well as of bondholders. United they stand. 

The Hamiltonian theory of government has been in adop- 
tion, and the Hamiltonian school of politicians has been in 
control of the Union for nearly forty years, and they may 
now be judged by their fruits: they have given us a more cor- 
ruptly administered government than that our fathers rebelled 
against in 1775; and they are fulfilling with startling fidelity 
and rapidity all the prophecies which Henry, Jefferson, 
Macon, and Randolph made about them. 

It is a knowledge of these things which has organized a 
great rebellion in the United States, especially among those 
who live outside the great cities and homes of monopoly -A 
rebellion which has begun to control political parties, and 
which, in the last general election, mustered nearly six and 
a half million voters voters who were hurled, for once, 
against the great international brotherhood of plunderers by 
legislation. Some, however, who were in it are not of it; 
these, when they comprehend it, will become offended and 
walk no more with it. A new declaration of independence 
is being formulated to voice its spirit, and it awaits its Jeffer- 
son, if, indeed, as some believe, he has not already come in 
the person of Bryan, a AVestern man descended from South- 
ern ancestors, and seeming to have at heart the interests of 
all sections. 

It is a significant fact, in this connection, that from two- 
thirds to three-fourths of the foreign voters in the Union 
marched under the allied leadership of foreign and domestic 
monopoly and ill-gotten wealth. Two-thirds, at least, of the 
native-born white voters were in this great rebellion, and the 
life and soul of it. The negro voted almost solidly with the 
foreigners and with his new masters, for he will have masters 
of some kind yet for many years. I note the status and atti- 
tude of the negro seriously (and let him that readeth under- 



stand), for if this ever-deepening conflict comes to bullets, 
those who now tell the old Federal soldier to vote as he shot, 
will tell the negro to shoot as he voted; and he will so shoot. 
The negro vote, under the easy control of a sectional faction 
of political manipulators, is as dangerous a menace to our in- 
stitutions as our foreign population indoctrinated with Euro- 
pean medievalism kingcraft and priest eraft. 

Much, if not most, of our foreign immigration now comes 
from cities, and pours itself into the already corrupted life of 
our own great cities. (" Syrian Orontes pours its filth into 
The Tiher." Jur.) It does not buy land, it sells votes; it 
specifically performs the political contracts of its priests; it 
buys and sells political jobs; it officers ward politics. It is 
one of the arms and the negro is the other by which greed 
and monopoly, the twin devils which dance attendance upon 
national decline, are consolidating our government. 

No great city has ever been fit for self-government and 
'civil liberty. From Babylon to Nineveh, from Nineveh to 
Carthage, from Carthage "to Rome, from Rome to Venice, 
and from Venice to New York and Chicago (neither of which 
can elect an honest board of aldermen), it is the same old 
story of avarice which finally overreaches itself. This is the 
sin which, when finished, brings forth the death of nations. 

In vain did Virgil and Horace sing their deathless melodies 
of country homes to a people whose blood w r as already pois- 
oned with the lust for gain and fevered with the excitement 
of artificial life. 

The South, the rural South, in spite of many shortcomings, 
is the great conservator of our institutions. It is the dis- 
tinctively American section of the Union, jealous of all for- 
eign domination or interference, and stands firm in the 
patriot's faith that we as a nation can work out our own salva- 
tion without the aid of European capital or distinctively 
European ideas of finance, government or society. 


Though contaminated by modern machine politics, and 
much hampered by the race question, the South still clings 
to local self-government and to the dignity of Statehood as 
the only sure foundation for civil liberty and perpetual Union. 
Long taxed unfairly, by the subtle operation of the Federal 
tariff and internal revenue and currency laws, out of money 
which has long enriched another section, in the shape of 
pensions, internal improvements, and " protection to home in- 
dustries," the South is still the section most loyal to constitu- 
tional government, having infinitely more genuine affection 
for it than the pension-pampered patriotism of such as make 
merchandise out of " saving the Union." 

These considerations are sufficient to inspire in us an effort 
to write our own histories, expound to our children the prin- 
ciples of fundamental law, and teach them the safeguards of 
our institutions. The collection and arrangement of the fol- 
lowing sketches, with a few crude suggestions of my own, is 
what I have contributed towards this end. 

Except in so far as " history is philosophy teaching by 
examples," I take little pleasure in it, and should be at no 
pains to preserve or popularize it. But seeing, as I think 
I see, the drift and tendencies of these times, and believing 
that a correct and widespread understanding of the lessons 
of recent events is the first postulate in determining the 
remedy for existing and prospective eyils, I take an abiding- 
interest in every earnest endeavor to marshal the facts and 
discover the theories which will explain them for facts with- 
out theories are dead. The field of investigation is white 
unto harvest, but the laborers for love are few the hirelings 
are many. 

In order to illustrate the necessity of our reading and 
writing our own histories, I will undertake to show the main 
cause of the war between the States, indicating as I go along 
some of the errors called history, which are circulated and 
taught to the prejudice of the South. 


Northern historians make the negro and the interest of 
their people in his welfare the underlying cause of the agita- 
tion which resulted in the war between the States. Some of 
them wunld have us believe that the Federal soldiers, a gen- 
eration ago, lired with tin- love of liberty and humanity, came 
Smith on a great missionary tonr to strike the fetters from the 
limbs of four million slaves. About fifty per cent, of these 
missionaries were foreigners, or foreign born, having but 
crude ideas of the nature of our government; many thousands 
of them could not even speak our language; some were Hes- 
sians, imported from foreign tyrannies expressly for the pur- 
pose of war. Many tens of thousands came for money, and 
hundreds of thousands were compelled to come by law. Not 
ten per cent, came to free the negro. Those acquainted with 
the esteem in which he is held at the North, have never been 
deceived by this missionary theory of his emancipation. Lis- 
ten to the words of De Tocqueville, written about 1835. This 
Frenchman certainly cannot be accused of having been biased 
against the Northern States. He says: "Whosoever has 
inhabited the United States must have perceived, that in those 
parts of the Union in which the negroes are no longer slaves, 
they have in nowise drawn nearer to the whites. On the 
contrary, the prejudice of the race appears to be stronger in 
the States which have abolished slavery than in those where 
it still exists; and nowhere is it so intolerant as in those 
States where servitude has never been known. 

" The electoral franchise has been conferred upon the 
negroes in almost all the States in which slavery has been 
abolished; but, if they come forward to vote, their lives are 
in danger. If oppressed, they may bring an action at law, 
but they will find none but whites amongst their judges; and, 
although they may legally serve as jurors, prejudice repulses 
them from that office. The same schools do not receive the 
child of the black and of the European. In the theatres gold 


cannot procure a seat for the servile race beside their former 
masters ; in the hospitals they lie apart ; and, although they are 
allowed to invoke the same Divinity as the whites, it must be 
at a different altar and in their own churches, with their own 
clergy. The gates of Heaven are not closed against these un- 
happy beings; but their inferiority is continued to the very 
confines of the other world; when the negro is defunct his 
bones are cast aside, and the distinction of condition prevails 
even in the equality of death. The negro is free, but he can 
share neither the rights, nor the pleasures, nor the labor, nor 
the afflictions, nor the tomb of him whose equal he has been 
declared to be; and he cannot meet him upon fair terms in 
life or in death."- -Democracy in America, page 339. 

The negro's freedom was accidental and merely incidental 
to the main purpose of the war. When the alternative was 
secession or war, the sentiment of the most rabid abolitionists 
was voiced by Horace Greeley, who was willing that the 
" erring sisters depart in peace." Many abolitionists were sin- 
cere, though fanatical, and they had too often invoked the 
doctrine of secession, for the North, to consistently object 
when the South invoked it. Abraham Lincoln (a shrewd, 
practical Western countryman, put into his high office to hold 
the agricultural West against the agricultural South) put the 
war exclusively upon the ground of saving the Union. He 
would save the Union, he said, whether it enslaved the negro 
or freed him. In his inaugural address, March, 1861, he 
said: "I have no purpose, directly or indirectly, to inter- 
fere with the institution of slavery in the States where it ex- 
ists. I believe I have no lawful right to do so, and I have no 
inclination to do so." Eight days before, Sumner, the aboli- 
tion leader, had said in Congress: "I take this occasion to 
declare most explicitly that I do not think Congress has any 
right to interfere with slavery in a State." Neither Lincoln 
nor Sumner, if they are to be credited with any sincerity, had 


stumbled ii]><m the policy of freeing tlic negro; and, if they 
had, it would have been very impolitic to have then disclosed 
it, for all the border States would then have joined the South. 

The negro was freed as a means to an end. The emanci- 
pation proclamation was a " war measure," and, as such, a 
master-stroke, for it took two hundred and fifty thousand 
laborers out of the South and put muskets into the hands of 
nearly two hundred thousand colored troops. This was the 
difference between success and failure, and was the turning 
point in the war, as was admitted by Lincoln in his message 
to Congress, in which he said : " and for a long 

time it had been hoped that the rebellion could be suppressed 
without resorting to it [the policy of emancipation] as a mili- 
tary measure." The negro incidentally caused the defeat of 
the South; and he was also incidentally a cause of the war, 
but not the causing cause that lies deeper, and must be 
rightly understood at the peril of the nation. 

The war was about taxation the usual cause of revolution. 
A century ago it was taxation without representation; a gen- 
eration ago it was unequal, discriminating, sectional, and class 
taxation. Out of this still grows the political strife whose 
quadrennial flood rises higher and higher at each election: 
income taxes successfully resisted by the rich; rate, fare, and 
tariff taxes unsuccessfully resisted by the poor these are the 
fruitful causes of war fought with ballots first, and finally, 
if no remedy can be found, with bullets. 

The truth must be told even if it diminishes the glory of 
those who " saved the Union ' -and made money by it. The 
blood of the last generation was not shed in vain, if we, with 
the advantages we enjoy, learn and teach the lessons which 
all posterity will demand of us both for the sake of those 
who perished and of those who may perish if we suffer them 
to believe a lie. Forewarned is forearmed. 

Under our Federal revenue laws, those who have produced 


the export crops (in quantities sufficient to invite the exploits 
of political manufacturing and trade combinations) have long 
paid far more than their share of the expenses of government. 
They were not allowed to buy in the open market, where they 
sold their crops, but in the restricted " home market," at 
prices not fixed by open competition. But the said combina- 
tions bought these crops in a free market and sold their own 
products in a protected market. So they got more benefit 
than the government: first, in being relieved from Federal 
taxes, which the producers of the export crops paid; second, 
in incidental, then in avowed, protection; third, in the sys- 
tem of internal improvements which they were obliged to in- 
vent to dispose of the surplus revenues raised as an incident 
to giving them "protection"; and these " improvements " 
usually improved one section and impoverished the other. 

So, early in the game, we find one class, the political com- 
binations of manufacturers, growing rich, and another class, 
the ill-combined agriculturalists, growing correspondingly 
poor. Prior to 1860, even more than now, relatively, 
cotton was the great export crop of America, and was also 
the principal money crop of a section; so the tax suffered on 
account of it was sectional. Being also manufactured in a 
section, the benefits enjoyed on account of it were sectional. 
So we have the sections, as well as the classes, antagonistic, 
and made so by the operation of a Federal revenue law one 
section growing richer and the other growing correspondingly 
poorer in the sight of all men. 

Political parties aligned according to " geographical dis- 
criminations " (against which Washington warned but did not 
provide), arose and cursed each other, from 1816 the date 
of the first distinctively protective tariff (which, as increased 
in 1828 and 18')0, provoked South Carolina's first acts of 
secession) to 1861, the date of the Merrill tariff, with sixty 
per cent, protection in it, which, passed March 2d, and flaunted 


in the face of the seven already seceded State-, rendered rec- 
onciliation impossible. The Confederate Constitution declar- 
ing in its very first article again-l even incidental protection, 
conveyed no hint to (lie wilfully liliml revenue-hunters that 
the most oppressed of the agricultural State- had formed their 
combination to resist the plunder of Federal tariff, as well as 
other sectional aggressions. 

Lincoln's policy of reenforcing Federal forts in the South 
(the, immediate cause of the war) was bottomed on a purpose 
to collect this odious tax (the tariff of 1861), a policy which 
Alexander H. Stephens says was not determined upon until 
the " seven war Governors " (from the seven most protected 
States) offered to furnish the troops requisite to subdue the 
States then seceded. The border States had decided for the 
Union before Lincoln's acts of aggression; and he, therefore, 
though erroneously, supposed that they all would either aid 
him or remain neutral until he could " strengthen the Gov- 
ernment " by the conquest of the cotton States. 

By means of the tariff the cotton crop had been made the 
scapegoat upon which, in relief of wealth and monopoly, was 
piled the huge iniquity of Federal taxes; but more than that, 
and worse than that, the tariff was the engine by which the 
political combination of spinners and shippers forced down the 
price of that crop. 

As far back as 1791, Hamilton and those in charge of the 
revenue department of the General Government (a certain 
school of politicians has always had a Judas-like fondness for 
carrying the bag), finding the express powers under the Con- 
stitution too weak for the purposes of exploit, began to lay 
the foundation for a new government by implied powers under 
court construction; by mean- of which they and " their suc- 
cessors in office " have slowly but steadily amended the Con- 
stitution, consolidated our Federation, and undermined the 
rights of the States. While they were experimenting to dis- 


cover which States it was most advantageous to form into a 
copartnership with the General Government, they invented 
an unequal and discriminating tax on carriages, which fell 
heaviest on New Jersey, where they were principally manu- 
factured. Seeing the burden of half a dozen States fall on 
one, oSTorth Carolina and some others denounced it as infa- 
mous and unconstitutional. 

After a few more such experiments, in which it was learned 
effectually that the purely agricultural States could not be 
seduced into taking advantage of their sisters, the manipula- 
tors of the Treasury induced the General Government to co- 
quet with the States which were more or less under the con- 
trol of the political combinations of merchants, manufactur- 
ers, bankers, and speculators; and with more success. 

A copartnership was perfected between the General Gov- 
ernment and the protected States by the tariff of 1816; and 
the mutual considerations passed were first named " incidental 
benefit " for one party to the contract and " liberal construc- 
tion " of implied powers for the other. Angry protests and 
sectional incriminations and recriminations followed, and 
awakened -Jefferson, like " an alarm-bell at night," out of the 
sleep of old age. The " peculiar institution " of one section 
gave the other a terrible advantage, which it was quick to see 
and to seize ; and it was used remorselessly. Greed, suddenly 
joining philanthropy, religion, and fanaticism, organized and 
led a crusade against African slavery. The agitation about 
the negro, as a counter-irritant to distract attention from the 
injustice of Federal revenue laws, was more than a success: for 
the shallow politicians of both sections forgot the real issue; 
but the beneficiaries never lost sight of it, I will use a 
homely illustration: A and B are doing business on oppo- 
site sides of a street; B begins to undersell A; A becomes 
angry, but cannot afford to tell his customers the cause; he 
hears that B once cheated a negro out of a mule; he makes 

I NTRODDCTIO X . l' .", 

that charge; they fight; the court record of the trial shows 
that the fight was about the negro and the mule; but there 
is not a business man on the street who does not know that 
the record speaks a lie. 

The first speech in this book opens with old Nat. Macon 
lecturing (in 1820) a Representative from Pennsylvania, the 
most protected State, for expressing a desire to see the Union 
dissolved rather than that slavery should be extended beyond 
the Mississippi. 

Slavery, itself, while for several generations usually bene- 
ficial to the negro, was, doubtless, in many respects injurious 
to his masters. It made us provincial, of necessity, sensitive 
and intolerant of criticism, easily susceptible of misrepresen- 
tation, and cut us off from the sympathy of some who else 
had been our friends. It cramped thought, invention, pro- 
gress, poetry, and literature. It enabled monopoly to divide 
and conquer the tillers of the soil. It tended to create caste 
and it degraded manual labor as necessary as death after 
sin and decreed in the same Divine judgment. Skilled man- 
ual labor gutted the Confederacy by driving war-ships up its 
rivers: and the felt want of it, in late years, has established 
a great industrial institution at our State capital, the mother 
of many others, and destined to revolutionize education among 

" Protection " and discrimination in the operation of the 
Federal revenue laws, though still potent for evil, will prob- 
ably never again be the principal, causing cause of another 
revolution unto blood; because from three to ten per cent, of 
our Southern population will henceforward be directly bene- 
fited by such laws, and their interests will soften the sectional 
aspect of the tax. But the unequal and sectional operation of 
the currency laws, alienating the West as well as the South; 
the heaping up of nearly all the wealth of the country into one 
section, and most of it in a few great cities of that section; 



the plunder of agriculture by legislation and by the unchecked 
conspiracy of capital; the monopoly of the carrying trade by 
the wealth of the cities; the growing distrust between the 
urban and rural populations; the sullen and fickle temper of 
our foreign elements the nucleus, perhaps, of a future Praeto- 
rian Guard; the mutterings against the now "vested right' 1 
of protected labor to be fed or assisted by the government- 
and capital hides behind such labor; machine politics and 
party spirit; the prostitution of the electoral system by the 
national nominating mob system, which treats sovereign States 
as the provinces of a party; the fine Italian hand of a certain 
religio-political corporation in getting offices and holding the 
balance of power between the factions contending for pub- 
lic plunder; the growing intimacy of sectional wealth with 
foreign governments and aristocracies these are the clangers 
which together threaten a perpetual Union of the States and 
the liberties of the people. 

Before 1860, Macaulay prophesied that our government 
would go to pieces over a presidential election. In the face 
of these dangers, it is well for us to consider and carefully 
teach our children the causes which have worked our injury 
in the past, in order that we and they may be the better able 
to recognize and grapple them when they reappear, under 
changed names or in the shape of new laws. 

But a tariff tax as a causing cause of the late war shall not 
rest upon the foregoing testimony alone. "Let the South 
go," exclaimed Abraham Lincoln, in 1861, " where then shall 
we get our revenues?' This man was noted for hitting the 
bull's-eye, and Divine Inspiration had forestalled him with the 
prophecy that the love of revenue was the root of all evil. 

Thomas H. Ben ton is a witness who will be heard. In a 
speech in the Senate, in 1828, he shows how the tariff (which, , 
except for about twelve years, had been mainly levied for 
revenue) had plundered the South. lie said: " I feel for the 


sad changes which have taken place in the Smith during 1 the 
last fifty years. Ilefoi'e the Revolution it \va- tin- -cat of 
wealth as well as hospitality. Money, and all it commanded, 
abounded there. IJut ho\v is it now? All this is reversed. 
Wealth has fled from the Smith, and settled in the region- 
north of the Potomac; and this in the face of the fact that 
the South, in four staples alone, ha- exported produce since 
the Revolution to the value of eight hundred millions of dol- 
lars; and the North has exported comparatively nothing. 
Such an export would indicate unparalleled wealth, but what 
is the fact? In the place of wealth a universal pressure for 
money is felt not enough for current expenses the price 
of property all down the country drooping and languishing 
towns and cities decaying and the frugal habits of the 
people pushed to the verge of universal self-denial for the 
preservation of their family estates. Such a result is a strange 
and wonderful phenomenon. It calls upon statesmen to in- 
quire into the cause. 

" Under Federal legislation the exports of the South have 
been the basis of the Federal revenue. Virginia, 

the two Carolinas, and Georgia may be said to defray three- 
fourths of the annual expense of supporting the Federal Gov- 
ernment; and of this great sum, annually furnished by them, 
nothing, or next to nothing, is returned to them in the shape 
of government expenditure. That expenditure flows in an 
opposite direction it flows northwardly, in one uniform, unin- 
terrupted, and perennial stream. This is the reason why 
wealth disappears from the South and rises up in the North. 
Federal legislation does all this. It does it by the simple 
process of eternally talung from the South and returning noth- 
ing to it. If it returned to the South the whole or even a 
good part of what it exacted the four States south of the 
Potomac might stand the action of the system, but the South 
must be exhausted uf its money and its property by a coin 1 -- 


of legislation which is forever taking away and never return- 
ing anything. Every new tariff increases the force of this 
action. No tariff has ever yet included Virginia, the two 
Carolirias, and Georgia, except to increase the burdens im- 
posed by them." llcnton's Thirty Years View, Vol. I, p. 
98, quoted by Raphael Semmes in his Memoirs of Service 

In 1860 we find the South still furnished many millions 
more than two-thirds of the export crops, besides fifty millions 
to the North. In Colonial and Revolutionary times the South 
was the richest section, and so acknowledged to be in the Con- 
stitutional Convention of 178Y. 

No wonder that the South always insisted that the Feder- 
ation was a limited partnership; and no wonder that her rapa- 
cious partners insisted on a government of unlimited pow- 
ers, when they employed such powers for unequal taxation, 
sectional expenditures, and unlimited " protection." Those 
who have clamored most persistently for a " strong govern- 
ment "' have never scrupled to sap its strength for purposes 
of private emolument. Those who have panted most for a 
consolidated republic have now fully disclosed their purpose 
of sequestering its assets. They have not consolidated the 
patriotism of the republic, but they have drawn a line of divis- 
ion from the Atlantic to the Great Lakes a division of in- 
terests, division of sentiment, division of population, di- 
vision of history, and a division of churches. Who can meas- 
ure the hypocrisy of those writers and politicians who teach 
the people that the way to make the government strong is 
to give to one section " implied powers " to plunder the other? 
Having gotten their wealth by the craft of booming national- 
ism and centralization, they now perceive that in order to keep 
it they must hold themselves ready to " hedge ' : with the 
doctrine of States' rights and reserved powers. So, while col- 
lege professors are confusing the mind of youth about " the 


two opposing theories of government," the facts of opposing 
interests are jarring the foundations of society and wrench- 
ing the fetters which bind the States in a " more perfect 

Roller! Toomhs said, in a speech before the Georgia Legis- 
lature, in November, 1800: "The instant the Government 
was organized, at the very first Congress, the Northern States 
evinced a general desire and purpose to use it for their own 
benefit, and to pervert its powers for sectional advantage, and 
they have steadily pursued that policy to this day. They de- 
manded a monopoly of the business of ship-building, and got 
a prohibition against the sale of foreign ships to citizens of 
the United States, which exists to this day. They demanded 
a monopoly of the coasting trade, in order to get higher 
freights than they could get in open competition with the 
carriers of the world. Congress gave it to them, and they 
yet hold this monopoly. These same shipping inter- 

ests, with cormorant rapacity, have steadily burrowed their 
way through your legislative halls, until they have saddled the 
agricultural classes with a large portion of the legitimate ex- 
penses of their own business. We pay a million dollars per 
annum for the lights which guide them in and out of your 
ports. We have built, and keep up, at the cost of at least an- 
other million a year, hospitals for their sick and disabled sea- 
men, when they wear them out and cast them ashore. We pay 
half a million to support and bring home those they cast 
away in foreign lands. They demand, and have received, 
millions of the public money to increase the safety of har- 
bors and lessen the danger of navigating our rivers; all of 
which expenses legitimately fall upon their business, and 
should come out of their own pockets, instead of a common 

" Even the fishermen of Massachusetts and New England 
demand and receive from the public treasury about half a 


million dollars per annum as a pure bounty in their business of 
catching codfish. The North, at the very first Congress, de- 
manded and received bounties, under the name of protection, 
for every trade, craft and calling which its people pursue, and 
there is not an artisan in brass, or iron, or wood, or weaver 
or spinner in wool or cotton, or calico-maker, or iron-master, 
or a coal-owner, in all the Northern or Middle States, who 
has not received what he calls the protection of his govern- 
ment on his industry to the extent of from fifteen to two hun- 
dred per cent, from the year 1791 to this day. They will 
not strike a blow or stretch a muscle without bounties from 
the government. No wonder they cry aloud for the glorious 
Union. They have the same reason for praising it that the 
craftsmen of Ephesus had for shouting ' Great is Diana of the 
Ephesians ! ' By it they get their wealth, by it they levy 
tribute on honest labor." 

The future historian will devote a long chapter to show 
how the slavery agitation " ebbed and flowed with the sink- 
ing and the swelling " in the voices of protest from the much- 
plundered South; voices which were keyed to the pitch of 
secession and revolution against the tariff of 1828, and which 
again, in 1SG1, shouted in warlike defiance until they were 
hushed in blood. That chapter will point also in shame to the 
dark record which shows that on March 2, 1861, after seven 
States had seceded and their Representatives in Congress had 
withdrawn, and while four other States were preparing to se- 
cede if found necessary, greed thrust its " lewd snout " into 
the purity of that chastening hour when many thousand pa- 
triots still prayed that the awful catastrophe might be averted, 
and got by force a tariff with sixty per cent, protection in it ! 
Hear the effect of that measure from the lips of a North Caro- 
linian, General Clingman, who was lingering in the Senate 
in the hope of reconciliation: " But, Mr. President, there 
is another difficulty in the way, and we might as well talk of 


this frankly. I knew it is present to the mind- nf 
on the other side, and they must see the difficulty. The hon- 
nraUe Senator from Rhode Island (Mr. Simmons) particu- 
larly, who engineered the tariff bill through, of course sees the 
difficulty. The revenues under that tariff l>ill cannot 

be collected anywhere, F think, if the declarations which 
gentlemen make are to be acted out. If they are to hold that 
all the Confederate States are in the Union, and that vou are 


to have no custom-houses, on the line between them and the 
other States, what will be the result? Goods will come into 
New Orleans, Charleston, Mobile, and other places; they will 
come in paying a low tariff, and merchants from Tennessee, 
Kentucky, Illinois, and Ohio, if they choose to go down there 
and buy goods, will take them home and pay no duties. No 
man from the North-west will go to New York and pay a duty 
of fifty per cent, on goods that he can get at a fifteen or 
twenty per cent, duty at New Orleans. That will be the 
course of trade, of course. Senators must see that you cannot 
have two tariffs, one high and one low, in operation in the 
country at once, with any effect produced by the high tariff. 
If you go to a man and say: ' You may pay me a high price 
or a low price for an article,' you will never get the high 
price. When, therefore, you attempt to carry out the new 
tariff, which contains rates, I think, of fifty per cent., and 
some of one hundred per cent., and some even above one hun- 
dred per cent., you cannot collect those rates at Boston and 
New York and Philadelphia, while the men who want to con- 
sume the goods can get them by paying a duty of one-third 
as much. That is impossible. I presume the Senator from 
Rhode Island, and those who acted with him, did not intend 
the tariff, which has lately passed, to be a mere farce, a mere 
thing on paper, not to be acted out. Of course they mean to 
get duties under it some way or other. If you do not mean 
to have your line of custom-houses along the border of the 


Confederate States you must expect to stop importations 
there."- Speeches and Writings of T. L. Clingman, pp. 61, 
62: extract from speech delivered in United States Senate, 
March 19, 1861. 

Yes, and it was the armed attempt to " stop importations 
there" that brought on the war! 

Why it was that the bombardment, on April 12, 1861, of 
a Federal fort about to be reenforced " fired the Northern 
heart" more than the bombardment, on January 9, 1861, of 
a Federal war-ship attempting to carry reenforcements to that 
fort, the Northern historians, like the Pharisees, " cannot 
tell." And they never tell that between the two bombard- 
ments sectional monopoly had brooded, and on March 2d 
hatched a cockatrice egg of sectional advantage; that its bene- 
ficiaries had had opportunity to touch noses with the "seven 
war Governors" and that the inspiration of such a touch ac- 
counts for the zeal with which they urged the President to 
war, when twenty-one States were trying to effect peace; that 
between the 15th and the 28th of March these Governors had 
a secret conference with the President in Washington, in which 
they pledged their States to support him in " collecting the 
revenues of the Government " ; and that, thus assured, he had, 
to the astonishment of the South and most of his own con- 
stituents, suddenly sent the invading expedition to reeuforce 
Fort Sumter! Did this same influence persuade Lincoln to 
refuse to allow the Supreme Court or even Congress to pass 
upon the much-mooted constitutional question of the right to 
secede? Of course it was familiar learning to him that all 
the States, especially the Northeastern, had from time to time 
asserted, acted on, or acquiesced in this right. Did the tariff 
Governors induce this man, reputed to be tender-hearted, to 
decide, on his own responsibility, a question of law which 
forced the issue of blood at a cost of a million lives, and a 
sinister change in the character and conduct of our govern- 


niont? Did they seduce him info fitting out an armament to 
collect (lie revenues at Charleston, and, at the same time, leave 
open for construction and equivocation his doubtful and in- 
consistent expressions about enforcing the Federal laws and 
Supreme Court decisions giving protection to Southern prop- 
erty in slaves? Why was it that, in this awful crisis, he re- 
fused to call Congress together until he had precipitated war 
by his invasion and his call for volunteers, unless it was be- 
cause his extra-constitutional advisers feared to trust a body 
which passed a conciliatory resolution even after battles had 
been fought and blood had been shed? Why was it that by 
the very terms of his war proclamation he put off the assem- 
bling of Congress for two months and nineteen days after he 
had declared war, unless it was because he was willing to fore- 
stall its action, and preferred to rely on the conspiring war 
Governors and their protected constituents to sustain him, 
rather than on his constitutional advisers and the Representa- 
tives of the people? Monopoly could not then trust the Su- 
preme Court, for the Dred Scott decision showed that it might 
again adhere to the original view of the Constitution; and its 
best members were zealous to effect compromise and peace. 
That Lincoln and his Cabinet were against the policy of co- 
ercion, until somebody influenced them, has been confessed 
by at least one of its members. 

A valuable side-light on the mainsprings of Lincoln's 
policy is furnished by Dr. R. L. Dabney. He says that while 
Virginia, through her convention, sitting in April, 1861, was 
making a last effort to save the Union, Seward sent a confi- 
dential messenger, Allen B. McGruder, to Richmond, to urge 
that a representative be sent to Washington in all haste. 
McGruder stated that he was authorized by Seward to say that 
Fort Sumter would be evacuated on Friday of the ensuing 
week and that the Pawnee would sail on the following Monday 

fur Charleston to effect the evacuation. Colonel Baldwin, nn 


original Union man, was fixed upon as the best representative 
of the peace sentiment. " He and McGruder," continues 
Dabney, " set out on the night following and arrived in 
Washington early the next morning. Immediately after 
breakfast they drove to Mr. Seward's, when the latter took 
charge of Mr. Baldwin, and the two went directly to the 
White House, where they arrived about nine o'clock. They 
found Mr. Lincoln engaged, but, upon Mr. Seward's whis- 
pering in his ear, he excused himself and conducted Mr. Sew- 
ard and Colonel Baldwin into a sleeping apartment and locked 
the door. 

" After the usual formalities, Colonel Baldwin presented 
his credentials. After Lincoln had read the credentials, Col- 
onel Baldwin proceeded to state to him what was the opin- 
ion of the great body of Virginians, both in the convention 
and out of it. This opinion was as follows, to wit: ' That 
although opposed to a Presidential election upon a sectional 
free-soil platform, which they deplored as most dangerous and 
unwise, Virginia did not approve of making that, evil as it 
was, a casus belli, or a ground for disrupting the Union. 
That much as Virginia disapproved of it, if Mr. Lincoln would 
only adhere faithfully to the Constitution and the laws, she 
would support him just as faithfully as though he was the 
man of her choice, and would wield her whole moral force 
to keep the border States in the Union, and to bring back the 
seven seceded States; but that, while much difference of opin- 
ion existed on the question whether the right of secession was 
a constitutional one, all Virginians were unanimous in believ- 
ing that no right existed in the Federal Government to coerce 
a state by force of arms.' To this Mr. Lincoln replied: 
' You are too late, sir; too late! ' Colonel Baldwin under- 
stood this as a clear intimation that the policy of coercion had 
just been determined upon, and, as he discovered, " within 
four days." Impressed with the deep solemnity of the occa- 


sion, Colonel Baldwin made a final appeal, asking, 
other tilings, that all questions at issue should be left for adju- 
dication by the constitutional tribunals. Lincoln asked a few 
questions, the last of which was, "What will become of my 
tariff?" lie put this question with such force of emphasis 
as clearly indicated that this consideration should decide the 
whole matter. 

The peace ambassadors sent to Washington by the Virginia 
convention immediately upon Baldwin's return found the 
same difficulty. "They saw Mr. Lincoln. The tariff was 
still the burden of his complaint. They left the next day; 
and the same train which carried them to Virginia carried 
Lincoln's proclamation also for the seventy-five thousand 
troops." See North Carolina in tlie War Between the States, 
by Sloan, pp. 27, 28, 29, 30, quoting R L. Dabney, in the 
Southern Historical Papers. 

There was a subtle influence at Washington strong enough 
to veer Lincoln round from Seward, whose constituents 
dreaded war, to Tliad. Stevens, who represented in Congress 
the Pennsylvania iron interest, and, in his character and per- 
son, the worst element of the worst politics that America ever 

Lincoln had no warrant in the Constitution for calling out 
the militia, against the seceded States. " The Congress shall 
have power to declare war" (Article I, section 8, clause 11); 
and " The Congress shall have power to raise and support 
armies" (Article I, section 8, clause 12); and if, in violation 
of standard definition and contrary to the fact, it be said that 
what he inaugurated was not war, but was only an armed 
effort to put down insurrection, the Constitution, Article I, 
section 8, clause 15, replies: " The Congress shall have power 
to provide for the calling out of the militia to execute the 
laws of the Union, suppress insurrections and repel invasions." 
So the only warrant the President had was an old act of Con- 


gross, passed February 28, 1795, shortly after the Whiskey 
Insurrection. This act provided: " That whenever the laws 
of the United States shall bo opposed in any State by combi- 
nations too powerful to be suppressed by the ordinary course 
of judicial proceedings or the power vested in the marshals 
by this act, it shall be lawful for the President of the United 
States to call forth the militia of such State or of any other 
State or States, as may be necessary to suppress such combina- 
tions and cause the laws to be duly executed." ]STo pretense 
of authority was given when a State or a combination of States 
opposed the United States. His construction forestalled Con- 
gress and robbed it of its exclusive right and power to " de- 
clare war," and made him the sole arbiter to dictate the 
nation's weal or woe. 

As a matter of fact, this law, thus misconstrued, was obso- 
lete, and so marked in the reprint of the United States Stat- 
utes at Large, in 1845, authorized by Congress. Lincoln, 
then, " by and with the advice and consent ' ' of interested 
persons, utterly ignoring the two coordinate branches of gov- 
ernment, unearthed for the purpose of inaugurating a most 
frightful war an old statute, unused from the time of its 
passage, and standing on the authoritative Revised Statutes 
marked " obsolete " for sixteen years so received by the law- 
yers, and unchallenged by Congress or any member thereof. 

It is no wonder that Congress, when it did assemble, in 
July, 1861, and found war a fact accomplished and armies 
already threatening Washington, should have made haste to 
validate the President's high-handed measures and strengthen 
his precarious position by an act of which section three is as 
follows: " That all the acts, proclamations, and orders, of 
the President of the United States, after the 4th of March, | 
1861, respecting the army and navy of the United States, and 
the calling out, or relating to the militia or volunteers from 
the States, are hereby approved and in all respects legalized 


and made \alid t<> the same intent and with tlic same effect 
as if they had been i. lied and dime under previous express 
authority and direction of the Congress of the United States." 
The marginal note of the printed laws points this act specially 
to the proclamation of April 15, 1861, calling out the militia. 

In suppressing the Whiskey Insurrection Washington acted 
nmler the "previous express authority of Congress," then 
lately given, "cautiously in his delicate duty," while Hamil- 
ton " was pressing for the collection of the revenue," says 
history. The act under which the militia was then called out, 
passed in 1792, required a Federal judge to certify the fact 
of the insurrection, and Washington took care to arm himself 
with the certificate of a Supreme Court Justice. The act 
under which Lincoln proceeded, an epitome of the former, 
shows on its face that it was also, when in force, in aid ex- 
clusively of court proceedings, and operative only when a 
Federal judge shuuld call upon the President to assist the 
United States Marshals, who were purely court officers. Any 
other construction gives the President " the power to suppress 
insurrections," and the "power to declare war"; and, when 
war is declared the Constitution places him in command of 
the army and militia: so nothing would be left for Congress 
but to vote supplies and validate his acts, as it did Lincoln's 

Though the militia had often been needed, and sometimes 
called out for troubles, domestic and foreign, no President of 
the United States, until Lincoln, had ever issued such a call 
unless expressly authorized by Congress, in special acts of 
limited duration, which have usually specified the number of 
troops wanted and the term of service required. It is no 
winder then that an act, treated as a dead letter since the 
suppression of the Whiskey Insurrection, should have been 
marked " obsolete " by the government publisher, with the 
sanction of Congress. 


Unless Madison's refusal to recommend a policy of coercion 
against the New England States, successfully resisting the 
drafts for the defense of the nation in the War of 1812, be 
regarded as a precedent, Lincoln had but one, directly in 
point, and that was furnished by President Jackson in the 
case of South Carolina's nullification of Federal law in 1832. 
Jackson's zeal for the Union could not be doubted; and, in 
spite of his military training and arbitrary temper, he found 
a remedy which saved the Union without bloodshed. 

On December 10, 1832, after South Carolina had nullified 
the tariff act, proceeded to provide a separate government, noti- 
fied the President, and begun to arm and organize its militia 
for defense, Jackson issued a proclamation in which he be- 
sought, and threatened, and promised. Failing by such 
means to induce the tariff-plundered planters of the plucky 
little State to recede from their position, on the assembling 
of Congress he recommended the removal of the cause of the 
trouble, expressing his belief that such action would shortly 
put an end to resistance. Nullification still continuing, Jack- 
son (a month later) wrote his famous message, in which he 
called attention to the magnitude of the opposition, and rec- 
ommended to Congress to provide by law: u That in case 
of an attempt otherwise [than by process from the ordinary 
judicial tribunals of the United States] to take property [from 
the custody of the law] by a force too great to be overcome by 
the officers of the customs, it should be lawful to protect the 
possessions of the officers by the employment of the land and 
naval forces and militia under provisions similar to those au- 
thorized by the eleventh section of the Act of January 9, 
1809." After recommending the revival of other expired 
acts to facilitate and protect the collection of the revenues and 
execution of Federal la\v, he said further: "Provisions less 
than these consisting, as they do, for the most part, rather of 
a revival of the policy of former acts called for by the [then] 


existing emergency, than of the. introduction of any unusual 
or rigorous enactments would not cause the laws of tlio 
Union to be properly respected or enforced. It is believed 
that these would prove adequate unless the military forces of 
the State of South Carolina, authorized by the late act of the 
Legislature, should be actually embodied and called out in 
aid of their proceedings, and of the provisions of the ordi- 
nance generally. Even in that case, however, it is believed 
that no more will be necessary than a few modifications of its 
terms to adapt the Act of 1795 to the present emergency, as by 
that act the provisions of the Act of 1792 were accommodated 
to the crisis then existing; and, by conferring authority upon 
the President, to give it operation during the session of Con- 
gress, and without the ceremony of a proclamation, when- 
ever it shall be officially made known to him by the authority 
of any State, or by the courts of the United States, that, 
within the limits of such State, the laws of the United States 
will be openly opposed and their execution obstructed by the 
actual employment of military force, or by any unlawful 
means, whatever, too great to be otherwise overcome." 

Pursuant to these recommendations, Congress passed, 
March 2, 1833, the "force bill," or "bloody bill," as it was 
called; and the section which made it infamous in the unpro- 
tected States was as follows: "Sec. 5. And be it further 
enacted, that whenever the President of the United States 
shall be officially informed by the authorities of any State, or 
by a judge of any Circuit or District Court of the United 
States in the State, that within the limits of such State any 
law or laws of the United States, or the execution thereof, or 
of any process from the courts of the United States is ob- 
structed by the employment of military force, or by any other 
unlawful means too great to be overcome by the ordinary 
course of judicial proceedings or l>y the power vested in the 
marshals by existing laws, it shall be lawful for him, the 


President of the United States, forthwith to issue his procla- 
mation declaring such fact or information, and requiring all 
such military or other force forthwith to disperse; and if, at 
any time after issuing such proclamation, any such opposition 
or obstruction shall be made in the manner or bv the means 


aforesaid, the President shall be and hereby is authorized 
promptly to employ such means to suppress the same, and to 
cause said laws or process to be duly executed, as are author- 
ized and provided in the cases therein mentioned by the Act 
of the 28th of February, 1795, entitled: 'An act to pro- 
vide for calling forth the militia to execute the laws of the 
Union, suppress insurrections, repel invasions, and repeal the 
act now in force for that purpose ' ; and also, by the Act of 
the 3d of March, 1807, entitled: 'An act authorizing the 
employment of the land and naval forces of the United 
States in cases of insurrection.' Section 1 of the force bill 
authorized the President to call out the army, navy, and 
militia to aid in collecting the customs a power which the 
Act of 1795 could not be construed to give. It was also 
provided in the act that the operation of said sections 5 and 1 
should " continue until the next session of Congress, and no 
longer." Thus careful was Congress to limit the duration of 
the great powers delegated to the President, as it had usually 
done in other instances in which it had authorized the em- 
ployment of military force. The Act of March 3, 1807, 
referred to in the force bill, simply gave the President 
authority to use the land and naval forces of the United 
States to assist in the execution of the laws whenever it 
should be lawful for him to call out, the militia for the 
same purpose. The Act of 1795, referred to by Jackson, 
which he did not pretend he had a right to use against 
the milliners of the tariff act, unless it should be revived 
by Congress, and which he proposed should be revived, 
modified, and adapted to meet the emergency confronting;<ii>r< 'Tio.x. 1 1 

liini, in the same \v;iy Congress had formerly adapted ami 
modified tlio Act of 1792 by the Act of 1705, to meet the 
emergency (if tin- latter year, was the very act Lincoln ii--d 
to cover his assumption of power to make war on the South 
without the authority of Congress! He had this precedent 
before him, in which the warrior Jackson, swift in defense 
of the nation's honor against her foreign foes, was slow to dye 
his hands in his brothers' blood. He had before him the act in 
which Congress had revived the provisions of the Act of 17 '.>">, 
and expressly limited the duration of that revival to the tim 
intervening before its next session; and he was lawyer enough 
to know, though not learned in his profession, that the sub- 
stantial reenaetment and enlargement of the old act, and its 
repeal, or limitation to a definite period, was, after the expira- 
tion of that period, a practical repeal of both especially when 
it may be seen that the one was to take the place the other 
took in its day. See Tynen vs. The United States, 11 Wal- 
lace IT. S. Reports, page 88; Pana vs. Bowles, 107 U. S. Re- 
ports, page 529, and cases cited therein; N orris vs. Crocker, 
13 Howard, page 429. 

Jackson, in spite of his camp association and military meth- 
ods, was the embodiment of caution and conservatism, when 
compared to Lincoln and his " kitchen cabinet " of revenue- 
hunting Governors, who were as swift to declare war against 
their own, people, under a forced construction of an old, un- 
used, obsolete, special act, as those who now speculate in their 
names and fame are eager to seek treaties of partnership with 
our hereditary foreign foe. 

They shall never, unchallenged, teach our children that 
Abraham Lincoln's usurpations were lawful, justified by ne- 
cessity, or commended by God; lest "necessity, the plea of 
tyrants," or " divine right," the plea of kings and priests, or 
'' implied powers," the plea of those who are powerful only 
to oppress the people and to collect and spend their revenues. 


should constitute the excuse for destroying the remaining 
safeguards of our liberties. 

Those accustomed to analyze motive and conduct will note 
with attention that the Act of August 6, 1861, intended to 
legalize the call for troops, was passed after the " force bill ' 
had been reenacted and amplified by the Acts of July 13, 
29, and 31, 1861 after the President had been expressly 
authorized by these acts and another to accept the service of 
volunteers and to use the army, navy, and militia to make 
war upon States and combinations of States, as well as upon 
the inhabitants of districts therein after Congress had in 
these acts twice gone out of its way to refer to the old Act of 
1795 as still in force, and once expressly treated it as giving 
the authority, which had been assumed, to begin the war; and 
the legalizing act itself was covered under a caption which was 
calculated to excite as little attention as possible. The cap- 
tion reads : " An act to increase the pay of privates in. the 
regular army and in the volunteers, and for other purposes." 

The Act of 1795, when in force, gave the President no 
authority to determine when a state of insurrection existed, 


even in a Federal district; Congress proved that it realized this 
defect of power by hastening (July 13 and 29, 1861) to supply 
it to Lincoln in respect to States as well as districts a 
double confession of the weakness of his position. 

The Act of 1795 afforded no assistance to collect customs, 
for the Whiskey Insurrectionists, against whom it was passed, 
resisted only the internal revenue taxes; Congress practi- 
cally acknowledged this limitation, by Act of July 13, 1861, 
expressly and separately authorizing the President to use the 
army, navy, and militia to " collect the customs " of the 
United States. 

" Even our enemies themselves being judges," there were 
doubts everywhere, and these doubts were everywhere re- 
solved in favor of absolute authority and against the received 
construction of law and the Constitution. 


An executive who usurps powers ought to be placed mi a 
moral plane as much lower than that of a treasurer \vln em- 
bezzles public funds as the love of liberty in the mind- of 
the virtuous is higher than the love of money. 

Those who would derive Lincoln's assumed power to de- 
clare war from the clause of the Constitution which require-; 
that the " President shall see that the laws are faithfully exe- 
cuted " betray the flimsy foundation upon which they would 
erect the throne of an autocrat. The faithful execution of 
the laws is to be secured in a lawful manner, under such pow- 
ers as the Constitution gives or Congress may lawfully give to 
the President. If he is the sole judge of the extent of the 
powers conferred and the appropriateness of the means of 
execution, he does not need any other clause to make him 
the field-overseer of both the other departments of govern- 
ment; and this the Supreme Court has decided he is not. 
TiiuilnV. vs. The United States, 12 Peters, p. 524. Lincoln 
did not rely upon this clause, but upon the Act of 1795, the 
language of which he quoted in his call for the militia of 
the States; and Congress, by the fifth section of the Act of 
July 13, 1861, showed very plainly that it recognized that lie 
had professed to act under the Statute of 1795. 

The frightful experiences of the civil war and the serpent- 
brood of evils which have since followed in its trail are plenary 
proof that the fathers were wise in not lodging the war power 
in the hands of any one man. 

A summary of Lincoln's conduct, while there was yet peace 
in the land, brings out in startling relief the facts: that he 
dared at the behest of pampered privilege greedy for revenue, 
and partisan rancor thirsting for blood, without precedent, or 
the support of either of the other branches of the govern- 
ment, to place his own private interpretation upon a statute, 
in effect repealed, and thereby to make war on six millions 
of his fellow-citizens, whom he refused a right of opinion sus- 


tained by abundant authority and precedent and by some of 
his own acts and utterances. The idol of the " higher law ' : 
fanatics, the chief of whom he placed in his cabinet nomi- 
nated on a platform which denounced the Supreme Court de- 
cision in the Dred Scott case as " a dangerous political heresy, 
revolutionary in its tendency and subversive of the peace and 
harmony of the country ' elected by States, many of which 
defied Federal authority attempting to execute the fugitive 
slave law, and none of which supported such authority, except 
New Jersey and California and having never publicly or 
privately condemned the nullification of their constitutional 
obligations (Article IV, section 2, clause 3) by the States of 
Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Michi- 
gan, Maine, "Wisconsin, Kansas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania he 
still proclaimed that his only motive in taking up the sword 
was to assert the paramount authority of Federal law ! 

His political campaign of 18G4 was fought upon a platform 
which pledged its supporters to " bring to punishment due 
their crimes the rebels and traitors arrayed against the Gov- 
ernment "; and be it remembered by all posterity that at the 
end of that campaign, almost at the close of a successful war, 
and in spite of military interference at the polls, one million 
eight hundred and eight thousand seven hundred and twenty- 
five citizens of his own section voted to condemn him, and 
endorsed a platform which declared that " under pretense of 
a military necessity for a war power higher than the Consti- 
tution, the Constitution itself has been disregarded in every 
part " by him, and that " justice, humanity, liberty, and the 
public welfare demand that immediate efforts be made for a 
cessation of hostilities, with a view to an ultimate convention 
of all the States; that peace may be restored on the 

basis of the Federal Union of all the States," * * * that the 
aim of their party was " to preserve the Federal Union and 
the rights of all the States unimpaired," and that they con- 


sidered " tlie administrative usurpations of extraordinary and 

dangerous powers not granted \>\- ilic Constitution ' as 

calculated to prevent a restoration of the Union; that the 
shameful di- regard of the administration of -its duty to our 
fellow-citizens, prisoners of war, deserves the severest 


As at the beginning, so at the end of the war, a vast ma- 
jority of our nation was opposed to Lincoln's policy of coer- 
cion and Wood; for his total vote, with the arniv and naw to 


hack him, was only ahout four hundred thousand in excess of 
M<-( 'lellan's, and this would have l>cen far more than offset 
liy the Southern vote. 

The immediate cause of Lincoln's death was a sentence in 
his speech of April 11, 1865: "If universal amnesty is 
granted to the insurgents I cannot see how I can avoid exact- 
ing, in return, universal suffrage, or, at least, suffrage on a 
Itasis of intelligence and military service." " That means 
nigger citizenship," said his slayer to a witness. " !STow, by 
God, I'll put him through! ' : Life of Lincoln, by Herndon 
and \Veik, Vol. JIT, p. 579. 

It was a singular decree of Providence that, according to 
his own forebodings, Lincoln should have perished by the 
hand of violence, and that too on the fatal 15th of April, the 
anniversary of his proclamation for the seventy-five thousand 
volunteers to begin the dance of death. "He that killeth 
with the sword must be killed with the sword." 

Let us be as thankful as we can that we are still one nation, 
that African slavery has ceased, and that the safeguards of 
liberty may be still sufficient if we are vigilant, unselfish, and 

The world has long respected the courage of the South; 
when the whole truth shall be well told it will equally respect 
her cause. One obvious effect of the civil war, clearly fore- 
seen and foretold by Southern statesmen, wa? to Europeanize 


American institutions. This was a fearful price to pay even 
for keeping the sections under one government. 

Let us hope that the present war with Spain may destroy 
the stock-in-trade of the speculator in past patriotism. 

An unoccupied field of investigation for a future historian 
is the part which Great Britain played in dissension, disunion, 
and war between the States, the sections, and the political 
parties. Her purpose has been accomplished. She has anni- 
hilated our foreign ocean-carrying trade once threatening 
her own supremacy and has thereby made us a third-rate 
naval power, for seamen, rather than ships, make a navy. 

"Will your people divide?" General Clingman was fre- 
quently asked while in England in 1860. Never once was 
he asked if slavery would be abolished. The form of the 
question, in a land where abolition took its rise, struck him 
forcibly. Hear its explanation : " In this connection I re- 
member a statement made to me by the late American Minis- 
ter at Paris, Mr. Mason. He spoke of having had a conver- 
sation with one whose name I do not feel at liberty to men- 
tion, but whose influence on the opinion of continental Europe 
is considerable, who declared to him that if the Union of our 
States continued at no distant, day we should control the 
world; and, therefore, as an European, he felt it to be his 
duty to press anti-slavery views as the only chance to divide 
us. I have many reasons to know that the monarchies of 
Europe, threatened with downfall from revolutionary move- 
ments, seek, through such channels as they control, to make 
similar impressions."- Speeches and Writings of T. L. Cling- 
man, pp. 482, 483: extract from speech in United States Sen- 
ate, delivered January 16, 1860. 

To prove that democracy is a failure is among the chief 
aims of European monarchs. 

Lloyd Garrison seems to have been a sincere fanatic, but all 


the bettor may have served British policy. Listen to a 
of facts about him, appearing at random in n friendly encyclo- 
pedia: " In 1833 " [the year the stars fell] " he visited Great 
Britain, and on his return organized 'The American Anti- 
slavery Society.' He visited England again in 1846, 1848, 
and 1867, in which last year he was publicly breakfasted in 
St. James' Hall." 

An extract from the London Telegraph of 1856 contains 
food for thought: " 'Flic aggressive spirit of the people of 
the United States requires an humbling, and it is for us to per- 
form the task. England's mission is to complete the great 
work commenced by her in 1834, when she liberated her 
slaves. There are now over three million human beings in 
cruel bondage in the United States. If, therefore, the United 
States Government deny, and is resolved to question the right 
of Great Britain to her Central American possessions, we, the 
people of the British empire, are resolved to strike off the 
shackles from the feet of her three million slaves." 

The London News, also of about the same time, encourag- 
ing its people against the possibility of rupture between Eng- 
land and this country, said: "However strong is the un- 
principled appeal at present made to the anti-British feeling 
of the Northern States, that feeling is counterbalanced by an- 
other which has grown up within the last quarter of a century. 
The abolitionists /nml/1 !><> irilk us to a man. The best of 
them are so now." 

In 1798 the federalistic school of tax-gatherers, under the 
guidance of their founders, Rufus King and Hamilton, once 
actually lifted their eyes from the plunder of their own 
countrymen long enough to adopt an aggressive foreign policy, 
but it was a conspiracy with England, called the " Mirandy 
Plot," by which they sought to despoil our late allies in our 
war for independence, the French people, of their territory 
beyond the Mississippi, the honest and honorable purchase of 


which by Jefferson, a few years later, this school denounced 
as unconstitutional and void. 

Better than any American statesman, General Clingman 
seems to have understood the motives and interests of Great 
Britain in fomenting the slavery agitation and the estrange- 
ment of the sections. Hear him, in his address to the people 
of the Eighth Congressional District of Worth Carolina, 
March 16, 1856: "The United States is the great republic 
of the earth, and the example of our free institutions was 
shaking the foundations of the monarchical and aristocratic 
governments of Europe. This was especially the case as re- 
spects the political system of Great Britain, owing to our 
common language, literature, and extended commercial inter- 
course. The aristocracy there hold the mass of the people 
in subjection, and under a condition so oppressive that large 
numbers of white men of their own race are liable to perish 
miserably by famine in years of scarcity. A knowledge of 
the successful working of our institutions was increasing the 
discontent of the common people, and, fearing the loss of its 
sway, the aristocracy, which controls the entire power of the 
government, began a crusade for the abolition of slavery in 
the United States. They expected, in the first place, by af- 
fected sympathy for the negroes here, to divert the minds 
of the people at home, to some extent, from the consideration 
of their own sufferings, and to create the impression that other 
laborers were much worse off than their own. And should 
they succeed in breaking up our system they would exultingly 
point to it as an evidence against the durability of free insti- 

" With a view, therefore, to effect these objects, more than 
twenty years ago the British press, and book-makers generally 
were stimulated to embark in a systematic war against negro 
slavery in the United States. Abolition lecturers were sent 
over and money furnished to establish papers and circulate 


pamphlets to inflame the minds of the citizens of the North- 
ern States. 

"Looking i';ir ahead, they sought to incorporate their doc- 
trines into the school-books and publications best calculated 
to influence the minds of the young and ignorant. Their 
views were most readily received in Massachusetts, where 
British influence has, for the last half century, been greatest. 
From this State these doctrines were gradually diffused to a 
liivut extent throughout the North." 

At the time that the British politicians were taking so much 
interest in the slavery question of America, and deprecating 
with many crocodile tears our treatment of the negroes they 
had sold us, the Edinburgh Review of January, 1856, charges 
the British Government with collecting rents and taxes from 
its subjects in India by means of the thumb-screw and other 
tortures as devilish as ingenuity could devise. See Speeches 
and Writings of T. L. Clingman. 

According to some New England testimony, the work of 
the British emissaries who had been sent out to divide the 
Union was uphill at first. Hear the words of Representa- 
tive Isaac Hill, from New Hampshire, speaking in Congress 
in 1836: "I have said the people of the North were more 
united in their opposition to the plans of the advocates of 
anti-slavery than on any other subject. This opposition is 
confined to no political party. It pervades every class of the 
community. They deprecate all interference with the sub- 
ject of slavery because they believe such interference may in- 
volve the existence and welfare of the Union itself, and be- 
cause they understand the obligations which the non-slave- 
holding States owe to the slaveholding States by the compact 
of confederation. It is the strong desire to perpetuate the 
Union; it is the determination which every patriotic and vir- 
tuous citizen has made in no event to abandon the ' ark of 
our safety ' that now impels the united North to take its stand 



against tlie agitators of tlic anti-slavery project. So effect- 
ually lias the strong public sentiment put down that agitation 
in New England that it is now kept alive only by the power 
of money which the agitators have collected and apply in the 
hiring of agents and in the issue from presses that are kept in 
their employ. 

" The anti-slavery movement which brings in petitions 
from various parts of the country, asking Congress to abolish 
slavery in the District of Columbia, originates with a few per- 
sons who have been in the habit of making charitable relig- 
ious institutions subservient to political purposes, and who 
have even controlled some of those charitable associations. 

" Many of the clergymen who have been the instruments 
of the agitators have been such from no bad motive. Some 
of them, discovering the purpose of the agitators, discovering 
that their labors were calculated to make the condition of 
the slave worse, and to create animosity between the people of 
the North and the South, have paused in their course and de- 
sisted from the further application of a mistaken philan- 

Even if it be admitted that, as early as the year 1836, the 
strongest elements in New England were united against the 
South, it is by no means true that they were then unanimous 
in selecting slavery as the most advantageous ground of battle. 
A cry of distress arose from Great Britain at the way 
some of the distributors of her secret service money were be- 
ing treated; a paragraph from an English newspaper, the 
Leeds Mercury, read on the floor of the House of Represen- 
tatives by Mr. King, of Georgia, in corroboration of what Mr. 
Hill had said, will serve as an illustration: "Letters of the 
most distressing nature have been received from Mr. George 
Thompson, the zealous and devoted missionary of slave eman- 
cipation, who has gone from this country to the United States, 
and who writes from Boston. He says that ' the North (that 



is, New England, where slavery does not exist) lias univer 
sallv sympathized wilh the Smith in opposition to the aboli- 
tionists; that the l\orth has let fall the mask; that the mer- 
chants and mechanics, priests and politicians have alike stood 
forth the defenders of Southern despots and the furious de- 
nouncers of Northern philanthropy'; that all parties of [mil- 
tics, especially the supporters of the two rival candidates for 
the Presidential office (Van linren and Webster) vie with 
each other in denouncing the abolitionists; and that even re- 
ligions men slum them, except when the abolitionists can 
fairly gain a hearing from them. With regard to himself 
he speaks as follows: ' Rewards are offered for my abduc- 
tion and assassination; and, in every direction, I meet with 
those who believe they would be doing God and their country 
service by depriving me of life. I have appeared in public, 
and some of my escapes from the hands of my foes have been 
truly providential. On Friday last I narrowly escaped losing 
my life in Concord, New Hampshire.' 'Boston, September 
11. This morning a short gallows w r as found standing oppo- 
site the door of my house, 23 Bay street, in this city, now oc- 
cupied by Garrison. Two halters hung from the beam, with 
the words above them: By Order of Judge Lynch! ' 

Responding to this, the New Hampshire Representative 
(Hill) said : " The present agitation in the North is kept up 
by the application of money; it is a state of things altogether 
forced. Agents are hired, disguised in the character of min- 
isters of the gospel, to preach abolition of slavery where 
slavery does not exist; and presses are kept in constant em- 
ployment to scatter abolition publications through the conn- 

Yes, and this constant " application ' of money finally 
overcame the Yankee. The love of it has been the root of 
much evil with him. Then, too, eventually, his politicians 
and manufacturers found that the best use they could make 


of the negro was to hold him betwixt them and the fire of 
Southern indignation, kindled by their cupidity. 

To show the dangerous reciprocity of feeling between old 
and New England long before it was intensified as it now is 
by the community of interest in untold millions of invest- 
ments, the words uttered by John Quincy Adams, the sixth 
President of the United States, fall with the weight of state's 
evidence: " That their object (i. e. that of the New Eng- 
land States) was, and had been for several years, a disso- 
lution of the Union and the establishment of a separate con- 
federation, he knew from unequivocal evidence, although not 
provable in a court of law; and that in case of a civil war the 
aid of Great Britain to effect that purpose would as assuredly 
be resorted to as it would be indispensably necessary to their, 
design."- Adams' letter in reply to Harrison Gray Otis and 
others, December 28, 1828, quoted by Raphael Semmes in 
his Memoirs of Service Afloat, p. 43. This attachment to 
British interests was so pronounced in 1812 that the New 
England States refused to furnish their quota of troops to 
help conduct our defense; and, while the nation was locked in 
deadly conflict with the ruthless invader, these States actually 
held a convention at Hartford looking to secession. The 
Governor of Massachusetts proclaimed a public fast day for 
deploring a war against a nation which had long been " the 
bulwark of the religion we profess"; its Supreme Court de- 
cided that neither the President nor Congress could control 
its State troops in time of war, and the Legislature declared 
the war to be unholy, and urged its people to do what they 
could to thwart it. These States forced a treaty of peace 
in which Great Britain was not even required to cease the 
outrages on account of which the war was undertaken out- 
rages which might have been begun again but for Jackson's 
victory with the Southern soldiers at New Orleans. Jeffer- 
son, in a letter to Lafayette, says: "During that war four 


of the Eastern States were only attached to the Union like so 
many inanimate bodies to living men." 

That will be the saddest chapter of American history which 
faithfully compares the treasonable obstruction of these States 
to this war with their Cain-like swiftness to shed their broth- 
ers' blood because of an alleged difference of opinion on a 
question of constitutional law. It will be remembered, in 
this connection, that these States had their troops mobilized 
and waiting for the President's call before Fort Sumter was 
fired on. In four days after the call the troops of Massachu- 
setts (the most protected State save one) had invaded the 
State of Maryland and were shooting down the astonished and 
outraged citizens of Baltimore. 

The next saddest chapter of our national history will show 
that the section which has been greediest to gain power from 
the States and revenues from the people has been the readiest 
to use these powers and revenues against those from whom they 
were stolen, and the most reluctant to use them to defend the 
nation against foreign aggressions. " It is a principle of 
human nature," remarks Tacitus, " to hate those we have in- 
jured more than those who have injured us." 

And who, now, but the beneficiaries of implied powers 
(which they fought a civil war to preserve and maintain in 
all their latitude), under real or affected dread of a foreign 
war, are zealous for the late proposed bondholders' treaty with 
England? As though that nation could afford to kill or 
even injure the goose which lays the golden egg in the shape 
of four hundred million dollars annual interest on British in- 
vestments in this country! The sole purpose of this treaty 
is that this egg shall be golden and not bimetallic; and in- 
stead of preventing, it may be the cause of war, as soon as 
the people resume control of their government and feel the 
effects of an arbitration judgment on the financial question. 
I pause to remark, in this connection, that many well-meaning 


people who petitioned the Senate for the confirmation of this 
treaty had not read it with sufficient care to observe that it 
delegated to a commission, composed partly of foreigners and 
to a majority of the Senate, powers which have heretofore 
been only exercised by two-thirds of the Senate, as the Con- 
stitution provides. And this apparently slight though subtle 
change in the conduct of our government was sought to be 
inaugurated in the name of peace! 

What a Southern statesman exclaimed, arguing against the 
adoption of the Federal Constitution, in 17S7, may be appo- 
sitely repeated here : " But the character of the partners 
(meaning the Northern States) causes me more alarm than the 
terms of the partnership." England's partnership with Aus- 
tralia, South Africa, and India has .spread such a pall of uni- 
versal indebtedness over the fairest portions of the globe that 
we may well hesitate before we make more permanent the 
stipulations in the " bond " of her blighting friendship. 

Undoubtedly the seeds of the War of 1812 were sown by 
the treaty of 1794, negotiated by John Jay, who took " a mild 
and conciliatory part in the Revolutionary war," and by Lord 
Grenville, the son of the author of the Stamp Act. The 
" Jay treaty," as it was called, provided for the shameful cur- 
tailment of the American ocean-carrying trade, and for the 
free navigation of the Mississippi for Great Britain. And if 
the proposed arbitration treaty is not finally rejected by the 
Senate, the prominence given to the present British Minister 
at McXinley's inauguration, accidental though it may have 
been, will serve as a fine prototype of British influence in the 
administration of our government. 

" Woe to the nation that trusts England's friendship," ex- 
claimed the thoughtful Pettigrew, after studying her national 
character on the narrow island where it grew. What he says, 
given under the sketch of him in this book, is a valuable side- 
light upon the suggestion that her influence more than any 


other (except original .-in) ha- changed the half nf our nation 
nearest to her into a race of "dollar-hunters and Breeders of 
dollar-hunters." The way to make England our ally is to 
show her that we are able to take care of ourselves. Her 
government fears nothing so much as the democratic spirit 
of America, and would fain liind that down by treaty; but 
when it serves her purposes, Old England, like New England, 
finds a " higher law " than a contract. Unity of interest and 
<f purpose unites peoples compacts often unite governments 
in a conspiracy to plunder. 

In dwelling specially upon the main cause of mir civil 
war, because of attempts to ignore it, I do not mean to en- 
courage the student to neglect the other causes: the control 
by the Confederacy of the lower "Mississippi the ocean outlet 
of its headwater States; the fear of protected labor that the 
-laves would learn to manufacture, and reduce wages; the 
jealousy and friction in the newly-settled West, caused by the 
actual contact of the two systems of labor (for slavery was a 
practical and serious question there); the belief that slavery 
was at the bottom of the forty-four years of sectional political 
wrangling, and that this must cease or the Union be dissolved ; 
the honest and the prejudiced opposition to the institution it- 
self; the zeal and ambition of machine politicians, in both 
sections, anxious to get in " on the ground floor" of personal 
advantage these together, acted on by the main cause, and 
reacting on each other, constitute the causes of the war. 

And it must not be forgotten, too, that Calhoun, for the 
South, accepted the slavery issue as the gage of battle, though 
he knew for what purpose it was manufactured. Unity of the 
South against Northern aggression was what he was fighting 
for; and, having failed to present a solid front against the 
tariff because Clay's ambition and Louisiana's influence dis- 
integrated his forces in the Southwest, he was the more easily 
betrayed into adopting a temporary expedient the policy of 


shifting the issue from its high ground. In this way, too, he 
got " hay and stubble " in his foundation, and gave the ene- 
mies of civil liberty among the whites a chance to pose as the 
friends of civil liberty among the blacks. 

Standing among the statutes at large, with but a page be- 
tween, is the proclamation of Thomas Jefferson, thundering 
against the aggressions of Great Britain, and the proclama- 
tion of John Adams, breathing out threatenings and slaughter 
against his own countrymen for resisting the plunder of an 
unjust revenue tax. These two proclamations, looming up in 
the horizon of American history like the Mountains of Bless- 
ing and Cursing, are the embodiment of the two spirits which 
are contending for the mastery of this nation the one the 
source of our independence gained by a foreign war and the 
territory on this side of the Mississippi, and of our independ- 
ence maintained by a foreign war and the territory beyond 
the Mississippi the other the source of our national debt in 
its monstrous cumulation, of Federal extravagance, of sec- 
tional expenditures of public funds, of class legislation for 
protected industries, of unequal taxes, and of a frightful civil 
war, unlawfully begun to collect them. 

" To do justice " is the only way to " insure' domestic tran- 
quillity." A government is " strong " only when its founda- 
tions are laid deep in the affections and best interests of the 
people who support it and for whose benefit it was created.- 
God's government, is strong and will last forever because it is 
based upon the eternal principle of mutual affinity. 

Through the long mystery of prehistoric ages the spirit of 
God's love brooded over the desolation of a void and formless 
world; continents laden with life were born out of the womb 
of the great deep Life which still lives in the love of its 


Infinite Author and the great deep which still with meas- 
ured pulse is beating out the changes of our times and loom- 
ing in our ears the faith that we, too, are somewhere in the 
sweep of Nature's mighty moving heart. So, statesmen and 
philosophers, deeply pondering in love of country over the 
dreary waste of failures and disasters lying thick along the 
track of History and Experience, have wrought out for us Avise 
laws and constitutions, have rescued from the " bottomless 
deep of theory and possibility" the institutions under which 
we live, but the virtue to interpret and maintain them is not 
transmitted nor transmissible that we must gain, as they did, 
from Heaven. 

Sloping in a long, gradual sweep of undulating hills and 
valleys, overspread with the silver network of her myriad 
streams, from her lofty green-bannered battlements, erected 
by God, down to her shifting shore, Avhere Hatteras lies in 
Avait for her enemies by sea, North Carolina spreads out the 
peaceful lap of her bounteous land for her children and for 
all who cherish her. 

Born before the Union, which is but an offspring of the 
States, and surviving disunion, the child of sectional advan- 
tage, unbroken by the shock of radical changes in the Con- 
stitutions of the State and nation, North Carolina stands 
among the firmest of the forty-five pillars of the national su- 
perstructure, Avill sustain it as long as it ansAvers the purposes 
of its creation, and, if greed or necessity or the Avill of Heaven 
should destroy it, Avill stand above its Avreck, the sure founda- 
tion and protection of her people's liberties and the sure sup- 
port of a more perfect Union of the States which have been 
purified in the crucible of disaster. 

"W, J, PKKUS. 




William Richardson Davie was Lorn at Kgrrm<mt, near 
AYliiteliavcn, Cumberland county, in the nortli of England, 
on June 20, 1756. He was brought over to this country by 
his father, Archibald Davie, who, upon the peace of 1763, 
made a visit to America, and was left in the care of liis 
maternal uncle, Rev. 'William Richardson, a Presbyterian 
clergyman residing in the Waxhaw settlement on the Catawba 
river, in South Carolina. Having no children, Mr. Richard- 
son adopted his nephew and namesake, who became heir to 
his estate. At the usual age young Davie was sent to the 
" Queen's Museum," the well-known academy and high 
school in Charlotte. From thence he entered at Nassaii 
Hall, Princeton College, New Jersey, of which the famous 
Dr. Witherspoon was then President. In the summer of 
1776, with the consent of the President, a party of student-, 
among whom Davie was one, was raised and served as volun- 
teers in the patriot army. In the fall of that year he returned 
to college, and, passing his examinations, took his college de- 
gree of Bachelor of Arts with the first honors of the institu- 
tion. His uncle died before his return home. Davie selected 
the profession of law and began his studies at Salisbury. In 
1777 he joined a detachment of twelve hundred men under 
General Jones, ordered to be raised for the defense of Charles- 
ton, then threatened with another attack, but on reaching 
Camden it was found that the design was abandoned by the 
enemy, and the detachment returned home after a service of 
three months. In 1779 a troop of cavalry was raised in the 
Salisbury district. Of this William Bamett, of Mecklcn- 


burg, was chosen captain and Davie lieutenant. His com- 


mission, signed by Governor Caswell, is dated 5 April, 1779. 
AVith two hundred horse he was immediately sent into the 
back country to suppress a Tory rising, but it was quelled be- 
fore their arrival. Soon afterward the troop joined the 
Southern Army and was attached to Pulaski's Legion. 

Captain Bamett having resigned, Davie was promoted to 
captain, and shortly thereafter was made major. On June 
20th of that year Davie took part in the battle of Stono, near 
Charleston. In this battle the North Carolina brigade was 
commanded by General Jethro Sumner. In a cavalry charge 
on that day Davie was wounded and fell from his horse, but 
retained hold of the bridle. The cavalry, dispirited by his 
fall, were in full retreat when a private in another company, 
whose horse had been shot under him and was carrying off 
his saddle, saw Major Davie standing by his horse unable to 
mount him, his thigh being disabled by his wound. Though 
the enemy were in a few yards, this man deliberately placed 
him on his horse and led him from the field. His deliverer 
then disappeared and resumed his place in the ranks, and 
Davie could find no trace of him. The wound was a severe 
one and kept Davie long in the hospital at Charleston, ren- 
dering him incapable of further service that year. At the 
siege of Ninety-Six, two years later, when Davie was present 
as Commissary-General of the Southern Army, on the morn- 
ing of the attack a stranger came to his tent and introduced 
himself as the man who had saved his life at Stono. He 
promised to visit him again, but when the troops were re- 
called from the fruitless attempt to storm the fort the body 
of the gallant unknown was found among the dead. On his 
return from the Charleston hospital in September, 1779, 
Davie being unfit for service, applied for and received his 
County Court license and was sent by the Governor to attend 
the courts on the Holston river, then in North Carolina, that 
he might ascertain public sentiment in that section. In the 
spring of 1780 he received his Superior Court license. About 
the same time he obtained authority from the Legislature of 
North Carolina to raise a troop of cavalry and two companies 
of mounted infantry. The authority was all that the State 
could give, its funds being too low to provide the means. 


Major Davie, with a patriotism worthy of perpetual remem- 
brance, disposed <d' the estate inherited tYmn his uncle and 
thus raised the funds to equip his command. 

The surrender of Charleston, 12th May, 1780, and the 
surprise and butchery of Buford's men by Colonel Tarleton 
on the 29th of the same month, completed the subjugation of 
South Carolina. Colonel Moore, with eleven hundred Tories, 
having collected at Ramsour's Mills, in the edge of the pres- 
ent town of Lineolnton, Colonel Francis Locke with three 
hundred militia of Burke, Lincoln, and Rowan, crossed the 
Catawba at Beattie's Ford, while General Rutherford, acting 
in concert with him with seven hundred troops, among whom 
was Ihivie and his command, crossed at Tuckaseege Ford. 
The two divisions were to meet in the night near the enemy 
and attack at break of day. Rutherford's march being cir- 
cuitous,, was delayed, but Colonel Locke, notwithstanding the 
disparity of force, attacked alone and won a complete victory. 
Rutherford arrived about an hour after the action and dis- 
patched Major Davie in pursuit of the fugitives. Shortly 
after Major Davie was ordered to take post near the South 
Carolina line, opposite Hanging Rock, to prevent the enemy 
from foraging and to check the depredations of the Tories 
who infested that section. He was reenforced by some South 
Carolinians under Major Crawford, by thirty-five Catawba In- 
dians under their chief, ISTew River, and by part of the Meck- 
lenburg militia. With part of his dragoons and some volun- 
teers he left camp 20th July, 1780, to intercept a convoy of 
provisions and clothing destined for the enemy at Hanging 
Rock, eighteen miles distant. Marching all night, he turned 
'lie enemy's flank and fell into the Camden road five miles 
below Hanging Rock. Here he awaited the convoy, which 
appeared in the afternoon, and it was surprised and completely 
captured, with all the stores. 

About the last of July, Colonel Sumter, with the South 
Carolina refugees, and Colonel Irwin, with the Xorth Caro- 
lina troops, advanced to the attack of Rocky Mount, while 
Major Davie was to make a diversion to engage the attention 
of the enemy at Hanging Rock. His detachment consisted 
of eighty mounted men. In sight of the enemy's camp, he fell 


upon three companies of their mounted infantry returning 
from an excursion. Taken by surprise, they were literally cut 
to pieces almost before they were aware of his presence. Sixty 
valuable horses, with their furniture, and one hundred rifles 
and muskets, were carried off by Davie in safety without the 
loss of a man. On August 5th an attack was ordered upon 
Hanging Rock by Colonel Sumter, who commanded in per- 
son the eight hundred troops engaged in the expedition. Of 
these five hundred were North Carolinians, commanded by 
Colonel Irwin and Major Davie. The troops halted at mid- 
night within two miles of the enemy's camp, which they at- 
tacked next morning at daylight. The British regulars were 
commanded by Major Garden, while among the auxiliaries 
were several Tory regiments. One was composed of Tories 
from the upper Yadkin, commanded by Colonel Bryan (whom 
Davie afterwards defended when tried for treason at Salis- 
bury), and another, mostly of South Carolinians, was led by 
Colonel John Hamilton, of Halifax, who for many years 
after the war was British Consul at Norfolk. The attack 
at first was completely successful, but from lack of disci- 
pline many of the troops plundered the camps and became 
intoxicated. A part of the British troops remaining intact, 
formed a hollow square and necessitated a retreat, which, how- 
ever, was made in good order, Davie's corps covering the 
rear. The wounded were safely convoyed by him to Char- 
lotte, where, by his foresight, a hospital had been established. 
It is worthy of note that on this march to the attack at Hang- 
ing Rock, by Davie's side rode, as guides conversant with 
the roads and of undoubted courage and patriotism, t\v<> 
country lads, brothers, respectively aged thirteen and fifteen 
years. The younger of the two was destined to see many 
another field of carnage, and his name has filled long and well 
the sounding trump of fame Andrew Jackson. Long years 
after, in the retirement of the Hermitage, he said that Davie 
was the best soldier he had ever known and that his best 
lessons in the art of war had been learned from him. 

On Davie's return from Charlotte he hastened to the gen- 
eral rendezvous of Gates' army at Rugely's Mills. On 
August Kith, while proceeding to join General Gates at Cam- 


den, and ten miles from the battle lield. Major I )avie met th<- 
defeated army with the- General leading the retreat. II. 
ordered Davie to fall back on Charlotte, but he replied that 
hi- men had formed the acquaintance of Tarleton's Legion 
and did not fear to meet them again. He eontinned his 
course toward- the linn le-gr< mud, meeting the flying frag- 
ments of the; routed army. He secured several wagon-; loaded 
with clothing and medicine, which had been aliandoiied. 
With (diaraeteristic thoughtfulness he immediately sent an 
officer to notify Colonel Sumter of the great disaster which 
had befallen mir arms. He reached Suinter that evening, 
who at once began his retreat along the west bank of the 
Catawba, towards the up-country. Not taking sufficient pre- 
caution, however, Suinter was surprised on the 18th by Tarle- 
ton at Fishing Creek, and his entire command of eight hun- 
dred men was captured or put to flight with the loss of all 
his artillery, arms, and baggage. Colonel Sumter himself, 
who was asleep under a wagon when the attack was made, 
barely escaped, and the next day reached Davie's camp at 
Charlotte alone, riding on horseback, without saddle or 
bridle. The tidings earned consternation into the fragment - 
of Gates' armv which had rallied there, and in a few mo- 

ments Davie and his command were the only force left in 
front of the enemy. Instead of retiring, he boldly advanced 
to the AYaxhaws, and found that the enemy had fallen back 
to Camden. 

On the 5th of September, 1780, Davie was appointed by 
Governor Xash Colonel Commandant of Cavalry in the Wes- 
tern District of North Carolina, with instructions to raise a 
regiment, AY hen he had collected only about seventy men, 
with that force and two small companies of riflemen, com- 
manded by Major George Davidson, he took post at Provi- 
dence, twenty-five miles from the British camp. Cornwallis, 
after resting at Camden till the first week in September, had 
advanced to the AYaxhaws, forty miles below Charlotte, while 
the f rag-merits of the American army were slowly gathering 
at Ilillshnrongh, two hundred miles distant. South Carolina 
was wholly subjugated, and North Carolina had not recovered 
from the shock of Gates' defeat, ruder these circumstances, 


Colonel Davie, with unprecedented boldness, with a command 
not exceeding one hundred and fifty men all told, on the 
20th of September, turning the right flank of the British 
army by a circuitous march, fell upon three or four hundred 
of the enemy at Wahab's plantation. The attack was made at 
daylight. The surprise was complete.' 

The enemy left fifteen or twenty dead on the field and 
had some forty wounded. Davie got off safely with the cap- 
tured horses and had only one man wounded. The enemy 
at once caused the farm buildings which belonged to Captain 
Wahab, then a volunteer with Davie, to be laid in ashes. 
Davie brought off ninety-six horses and their furniture and one 
hundred and twenty stand of arms, and arrived in camp the 
same afternoon, having marched sixty miles in less than 
twenty-four hours, including the time employed in seeking 
and beating the enemy. That evening Generals Sumner and 
Davidson arrived at his camp with their force of one thousand 
badly equipped militia. 

On the 24th of September the American patrols gave no- 
tice that the force of the enemy was in motion on the Steele 
Creek road, leading to Charlotte. Generals Sumner and 
Davidson retreated by Phifer's on the nearest road to Salis- 
bury. Colonel Davie, with one hundred and fifty mounted 
men and some volunteers under Major Joseph Graham, was 
left alone in front of the British army, and he was ordered to 
observe the enemy and skirmish with his advance. On the 
afternoon and night of the 25th he took a number of prison- 
ers, and at midnight took up his position at Charlotte, seven 
miles from the spot where Earl Cornwallis had encamped. 
Early on the 26th his patrols were driven in by the enemy's 
light troops, and in a few moments the Legion and light in- 
fantry were seen advancing, followed by the whole army. 
Charlotte was then a village of about twenty houses, built 
on two streets which crossed each other at right angles. At 
their intersection stood the court-house. Colonel Davie dis- 
mounted one company and stationed it under the court-house, 
where they were protected by a stone wall. The other two 
companies were advanced about eighty yards and posted be- 
hind some houses and gardens. The Legion formed at a 


distance of three hundred yards with n Eronl to iiil the 
street. On sounding the charge the enemy's cavalry ad- 
vanced at full gallop, but at sixty yards i' the court-house 
the American- opened fire and drove them back \\iih great 
precipitation. A second and third charge had the same re- 
sult, but being outflanked bv the Legion infant rv. Davie 

i/ e- ' 

\vithdre\v hi- companies in good order, they successively cov- 
ering each other, and retreated on the Salisbury road. The 
enemy followed with great caution and respect for some dis- 
tance, when they at length ventured to charge the small rear 
-uard. In this charge Lieutenant Locks and four privates 
were killed and !Major (irahani and five private.-: wounded. 
The coolness and skill of Davie in this ever-memorable com- 
bat, in which, with a mere handful of men, he held the whole 
British army for hours at bay and drove back repeatedly its 
best troops and finally brought off his command unbroken 
and in good order, stamp him as a soldier of no ordinary ca- 
pacity. He was at this time twenty-four years of age. (lov- 
ernor < iraham says of him: "He was prudent, vigilant, in- 
trepid, and skillful in his movements against the enemy, and 
with a charming presence, a ready eloquence, and an un- 
daunted spirit, he was among the young men of the day as 
was Harry Percy to the chivalry of England." He also 
terms him " one of the most accomplished and elegant gentle- 
men of the Revolutionary race." Besides his abilities as a 
leader he was an expert swordsman. It is said in Garden's 
Aiirrtlnlrx of fltc /,Y TO/// / ioint fi/ \V<n\ that he had slain 
more men in nersonal encounters in battle than anv man in 

A */ 

the army. 

The next day, after the brilliant affair at Charlotte, Colonel 
Davie joined the army at Salisbury, where, recruits having 
come in and Colonel Taylor from (iranville having joined 
him, his force consisted of three hundred mounted infantry 
and a few dragoons. Generals Sumner and Davidson con- 
tinued their retreat across the Yadkin, while Davie returned 
towards Charlotte, where he so vexed the British by cutting 
off the foraging parties and beating up their advanced po-r- 
that Cornwallis began to feel great distress for want of forage 
and supplies. i r ]\irl<'ln'x ( '<nn /><ii</nx. p. 1>4>. The Brit- 


ish officer declared he had " found a rebel hi every bush out- 
side his encampment." On October 7th occurred the disas- 
trous defeat of Ferguson at King's Mountain, and on the 
night of October 14th, ( -ornwallis began his retreat to South 
Carolina, followed by Davie, who harassed his rear and cap- 
tured part of his baggage. On the 19th the British crossed 
the Catawba at Land's Ford and completely evacuated the 
State of North Carolina. When General Greene took com- 
mand of the Southern Army in December, 1780, he and 
Colonel Davie met for the first time. The commissary de- 
partment became vacant by the resignation of Colonel Thomas 
Polk. The subsistence of the army had become very diffi- 
cult, and Colonel Polk declared that it had become impos- 
sible. General Greene having formed a high estimate of 
Colonel Davie's abilities, earnestly, and in most nattering 
terms, solicited him to relinquish his hopes of brilliant service 
in the field and accept the vacant office. At the call of 
patriotism he abandoned the tempting career which lay before 
him and assumed the not less important but more unpleasant 
and arduous duties of a station which offered no distinctions. 
General Greene had himself set the example, having relin- 
quished a brilliant career in the field to assume for years the 
duties of Quartermaster-General of the army. Colonel Davie 
assumed the duties of his new post in January, 1781, and con- 
tinued with the army for the next five months. Hardly any 
combination of circumstances could exist presenting greater 
difficulties to the commissary of an army than those under 
which be began. With a depreciated, almost worthless, cur- 
rency and an exhausted country, his only resource was to 
receive from the willing and extort from the reluctant such 
means of subsistence as they possessed, a service requiring 
promptness and vigor among the disaffected and skill and 
discretion among the friendly. These duties were well per- 
formed, and, while they make no display on the page of his- 
tory, their efficient discharge was more really useful to the 
cause and contributed more to the success of the army than 
the most brilliant services of the most brilliant officer in 
the field. In that capacity he was present in the memor- 
able battle at Guilford Court House. Though he had, of 



course, no command, lie was a watchful observer of nil the 
movements of the tight and distinguished himself by his 
ell'orts to rally the broken ranks ;md bring them again into the 
field. After Judge Schenck's vivid description of this battle 
it would be a twice-told tale to recount its incidents. It ma\ 
be well to recall, however, that Eaton's llrigade was composed 
of men from Warren, Franklin, Nash, Halifax, and North- 
ampton counties, while I>ntler'- men were from the present 
counties of Wake, Durham, Orange, Alamance, Vance, Gran- 
ville, Person, and Caswell. JSfo race of people has changed 
less by infiltration of foreign immigration. It is in warp and 
woof the same it was a hundred years ago. Those who know 
them well, know that they are " the blue hen's own chickens/' 
and it is nut to be believed (if all other proof was wanting) that 
men of that stock ever left any fair field of fight in a body 
save in honor. 

It was here that Colonel Davie, seeing the veteran First 
Maryland permit the enemy to approach to close quarters 
while it remained apparently inert and impassive, exclaimed 
with great emotion, " Great God! is it possible Colonel Gunby 
will surrender himself and his whole regiment to the Brit- 
ish?' 1 He had scarce spoken when, the command having 
been given, their fire, like a sheet of flame, swept off the 
enemy's first line. This was followed np by a bayonet charge 
from Gunby. The hostile lines became so intermingled and 
the moment so critical that Cornwallis, to save himself, caused 
his cannon to open upon the mass of struggling men and 
swept off friend and foe alike. This he did against the re- 
monstrance of General O'Hara, who was lying wounded on 
the ground, and whose men were thus h/iug destroyed at 
short range by the cannon of their own armv. 

O */ 

Colonel Davie continued with the army and was present at 
Hobkirk's Hill on April 25th, and also at the evacuation of 
Camden and the siege of Ninety-Six. While the army lay be- 
fore Ninetv-Six, General Greene found it necessarv to send 


him as a confidential messenger to the Legislature of North 
Carolina to represent to that body the wants of his army, and 
that his almost sole reliance for assistance was on them. ( 'ol- 
onel Davie's knowledge of the members and his tact were such 


that he procured a most generous contribution from the Gen- 
eral Assembly of men and supplies. The exigencies of the 
service and the equipment of the new levies required him to 
remain in North Carolina, and in July, 1781, he entered on 
his duties as Commissary-General of this State, which post he 
filled till the end of the war. The finances of the State were 
in a desperate condition, and the country was well-nigh ex- 
hausted by the requisitions of both hostile and friendly armies, 
and, besides, supplies had to be dispatched to our troops oper- 
ating in South Carolina. No duties could be more arduous 
or more admirably performed than those which fell to Colonel 
Davie's lot at this stage of the war. Transportation was 
lacking even for the supplies which could be obtained. The 
future seemed uncertain as to everything. No post could 
more sorely have tried the patience of any man. It argues 
great versatility of talents that the brilliant cavalry officer 
should execute with patience the duties of such a station, and 
it required a rare self-denial to lay aside the opportunities of 
distinction for the humdrum exactions of his wearying post. 
To add to other troubles, he had to deal, during the year 1781, 
with three different Governors of entirely different views and 
dispositions. Governor Nash had resigned in disgust at the 
proceedings of the Legislature; Governor Burke had been 
taken prisoner, and Governor Martin completed the year. So 
feeble at times was the support of the government that some 
of the most pressing supplies were procured by Davie on his 
own credit. Complex and numerous as were his accounts, 
when he laid down his office he invited the severest legislative 
scrutiny, but no objection to them could be found. 

The war being over, Colonel Davie resumed the practice 
of his profession in February, 1783. About the same time 
he married Miss Sarah Jones, the daughter of General Allen 
Jones, of Northampton, a niece of Willie Jones, and settled 
in the town of Halifax, which place he made his future 
residence. It was at that time practically the capital of 
the State. The sessions of the General Assembly had been 
frequently held at that place, and it was there that most 
of the executive business of the State was transacted. He 
was a brilliant advocate and possessed a natural aptitude 


for the practice of l:i\v. The State at that time was divided 
into seven judicial districts: Halifax, Xe\v Hern, Wilming- 
ton, Kdenton, Ilillsboro, Salisbury, and "Morganton. To 
these, in 1787, Fayetteville was added. The Superior 
Courts were held only at these places, and not as now at a 
court-house in each county. Colonel Davie took the circuit 
and attended in turn all the Superior Courts of the State, 
except that held at Morganton. He soon commanded a lead- 
ing practice in all these courts. At some places and at some 
terms the dockets show that he appeared without exception 
on one side or the other of every civil case. His practice 
was very lucrative and he quickly accumulated a large estate. 
An examination of our published Reports shows numer- 
ous cases of importance in which he was counsel. Probably 
the most important were Hamilton vs. Katon, 1 1ST. C., 84, 
which held the State Confiscation Act repealed by the United 
States treaty of peace with England, and Bayard vs. Sin- 
f/lclon, 1 1ST. C., 42, the first case in America which as- 
serted the power and duty of the courts to declare an act of the 
Legislature unconstitutional. It also held the confiscation 
acts against the late Tories invalid. Iredell, Johnston, and 
Davie appeared for the successful plaintiff and Moore and 
Nash for the defendant. 

With the chivalry of his nature, it was most natural that 
when the Tory, Colonel Bryan, with whom he had so often 
crossed swords, was arraigned and tried at Salisbury, in 1782, 
for treason, Colonel Davie was one of the counsel who con- 
ducted his defense. In this he displayed a courage of the 
forum no less brilliant and commendable than his conduct in 
the field. Indeed Davie, though the youngest, became in 
fact the principal counsel. Excitement ran so high that no 
lesser favorite than " the hero of Charlotte " could command 
attention. Bryan was convicted with several others, and was 
sentenced to be hanged the 14th of April, 1782, but was par- 
doned and exchanged. Judge Murphy, who had the opportu- 
nity of judging, and whose opinion is of high value, says: 
" Davie took Lord Bolingbroke for his model, and applied 
himself with so much diligence to the study of his master that 
literary men could easily recognize his lofty and flowing style. 


He was a tall, elegant man in his person; graceful and com- 
manding in his manners. His voice was mellow and adapted 
to the expression of every passion. His style was magnificent 
and flowing. He had a greatness of manner in public speaking 
which suited his style and gave his speeches an imposing 
effect. He was a laborious student and arranged his discourses 
with care, and, when the subject suited his genius, poured 
forth a torrent of eloquence that astonished and delighted his 
audience. They looked upon him with delight, listened to his 
long, harmonious periods, caught his emotions, and indulged 
that ecstasy of feeling which fine speaking and powerful elo- 
quence can alone produce. He is certainly to be ranked 
among the first orators whom the American nation has pro- 
duced." It is said of him, with probably small exaggeration, 
that during fifteen years while he was at the bar there was not 
a capital trial in North Carolina in which lie was not retained 
for the defense. Eminent as he was, it was not for the lack of 
worthy competitors. James Iredell and Alfred Moore, succes- 
sively Justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, 
Francois Xavier Martin, afterwards Chief Justice of Louis- 
iana, and Judge John Haywood, afterwards of Tennessee, were 
his contemporaries. His brief -books, some of which are still 
in existence, are models of neatness and show a most careful 
summary of the evidence and citation of authority in each 
case. Among his law students were Governor and United 
States Senator David Stone, Mr. Justice Daniel, of our Su- 
preme Court, and many others who became distinguished 
men. Judge Daniel said that he was the best lawyer and 
most accomplished man he had ever known. It is stated 
of him, in comparison with his great legal rival, John TTav 
wood, that while the latter carefully prepared every point, 
Davie would sei/e the strong points of the case and throw 
his whole strength upon them. In this he seems to have 
retained the experience and instincts of his soldier-life. As 
a characteristic of his elegant tastes and attention to details 
it is said that an examination of his correspondence shows 
that his letters were invariably written upon gilt-edge paper. 
When the Convention which formed our present Federal 
Constitution was called to meet at Philadelphia in May, 1787, 


lie was elected one of the delegates. The delegates were the 
i IMII Governor, Richard Caswell, ex-Governor Alexander 
Mnrtin, Richard Dol>l>s Spaight, who, like Davie, was subse 
quently Governor, William Blount, afterwards United States 
Senator, and Hugh Williamson, afterwards a member of Coii- 
gress and an historian. Governor Caswell did not attend. 
( lolonel I )iivie was the junior incmher of the delegation, being 
then, notwithstanding his distinguished career as a soldier and 
his high standing at the bar, not yet thirty-one years of age. 
Still his eloquence and influence made a decided impression 
upon the Convention. The Constitution all through is the 
result of compromise; but the critical question was the equal 
representation of each State in the Senate. Upon this it 
seemed likely the Convention would be dissolved. The large 
States were tirni for proportional representation. With the 
smaller States an equal voice in the Senate was a sine qua non. 
On that question North Carolina voted with the other large 
States against the demands of the smaller States, and this 
made the vote a tie, as Georgia, on purpose, evenly divided 
her vote. The friends of the Constitution, fearing a dis- 
ruption, referred the question to a committee composed of one 
from each State. Davie was the member of the committee 
from North Carolina. When the committee made its report, 
Davie, acting for ISTorth Carolina, gave her vote with the 
smaller States, and thus, by one majority, was equal repre- 
sentation in the Senate secured. Without it the Convention 
would doubtless have adjourned after a useless session. The 
Constitution, without that wise concession, could not have 
been adopted, and if adopted by the Convention, its ratifica- 
tion by the smaller States could not have been expected. 
This act was certainly against the wishes of his own State, 
then the third, in point of population, in the Confederation, 
ranking next after Virginia and Massachusetts and ahead of 
New York. It was also apparently against the interests of 
his State, but the act was that of a -tatesman, and should be 
recalled to his lasting honor. It was a critical moment, for 
a narrow-minded man in his place, timid of responsibility and 
fearful of his own popularity at home, would have prevented 
or postponed for many years the American Union. He re- 


mainecl in Philadelphia till the deliberations of the Conven- 
tion were virtually over and the adoption of the Constitution 
had become certain. Then, in obedience to his duty to his 
clients, as the fall circuit was about to begin, he left for home. 
Hence it is that his name does not appear among those ap- 
pended to that instrument. The Constitution being the work 
of many hands and containing so many alterations and amend- 
ments, would naturally have been rough and ill-joined, con- 
taining a variety of styles. It is worthy of note that the Con- 
vention considerately referred it to a committee of one 
Gouverneur Morris an accomplished scholar, to make 
changes " of form, not of substance." Under his hand it was 
polished and put in shape, and hence the uniform Bow and 
regularity of its language. 

But the work was not yet done. The Constitution was yet 
to be ratified by the conventions of the several States. When 
the North Carolina Convention met at Hillsborough, July 21, 
1788, a formidable opposition was arrayed against its adop- 
tion, headed by Willie Jones, David Caldwell, Judge Spencer, 
and others. The friends of adoption were led by James Ire- 
dell, a remarkably able man, and Colonel Da vie, aided by 
Spaight, Maclaine, Steele, and others. The adoption of the 
Constitution was at that time defeated. After its subsequent 
adoption by North Carolina, President Washington tendered 
the appointment of United States District Judge to Davie, 
who declined it. Colonel Stokes was appointed, but, soon 
dying, John Sitgreaves was appointed, probably through 
Davie's influence. He had married his wife's sister. 

By his wife he had acquired a valuable plantation near 
Halifax, which he took pleasure in cultivating, and he evinced 
a deep interest in introducing there a better system of farm- 
ing. His enterprise and public spirit procured the organiza- 
tion of a company for the proposed drainage of Lake Scup- 

A friend of education, in 1786 he obtained from the Gen- 
eral Assembly the charter of Warrenton Academy, and had 
himself, with Willie Jones, Thomas Person, Benjamin Haw- 
kins, and other prominent men named as the board of trustees. 
He was chosen repeatedly, except when his private business 


constrained him to decline an election, to represent the l>or- 
migh of Halifax in the House of Commons. He served tlm.s 
in the years L786, L787, 1789, IT'.H, 17t>:'.. 17'.' 1, IT'.n;, and 
1798. ITe was the real founder of the University of North 
Carolina, and is so styled in the journal of Islo of that in- 
stitution, and well deserved to be so called. Judge Murphy 
bears this testimony: "I was present in flic House of Com- 
mons when Davie addressed that body (in 1789) for a loan 
of money to erect the buildings of the University, and, al- 
though more than thirty years have elapsed, I have the most 
vivid recollection of the greatness of his manner and the 
power of his eloquence upon that occasion. In the House of 
Commons he had no rival, and on all questions before that 
body his eloquence was irresistible." He procured the act of 
incorporation to be passed in 1789, and other aid, and was 
always a fostering friend. 

The opposition to all the measures in favor of the Univer- 
sity was great. The cry of " economy ' and the fear ex- 
pressed that the institution was one step towards the founding 
of an aristocracy made it difficult to carry any measure 
through. Gifted with less tact, with less eloquence or with 
less popularity, Davie must have failed. The institution is 
no less a monument also to his public spirit, boldness, and 
foresight. He was a member of the first board of trustees. 
The selection of a site for the University, the superintendence 
of the erection of the buildings, the choice of professors, the 
arrangement of a course of studies, the adoption of regula- 
tions, the maintenance of discipline engaged his personal and 
active attention. Truly he might have exclaimed " E.rr./i 
monumentum acre perennius." The course of studies adopted 
at Davie's instance in 1795 was the "optional" system which 
now generally obtains. In this he anticipated the course of 
other colleges full .fifty years. When Dr. David Caldwell 
was elected President this was set aside and the old iron-bound 
curriculum was adopted and remained in force eighty years. 

On December 9, 1787, in the town of Tarboro, the Free 
Masons of this State organized the Grand Lodge of Xorth 
Carolina. At that meeting many of the most distinguished 
men of the State attended, Colonel Davie among them. Gov- 


ernor Johnston was elected the first Grand Master of North 
Carolina, and Governor Caswell the second. Davie was 
elected Grand Master in December, 1792, and was succes- 
sively reelected for seven years. In that capacity he laid the 
cornerstone of the University, Qctober 12, 1793 (the old 
East Building), and on April 14, 1798, he laid the corner- 
stone of the South Building at the same place. 

The project of a digest of the laws was brought forward by 
him, and the appointment of Judge Iredell, the accomplished 
jurist, to do the work, was made at his suggestion. The ces- 
sion of the territory which now forms the State of Tennessee 
was effected mainly by his influence. In 1791 he was ap- 
pointed by the Legislature one of the three commissioners to 
establish the unsettled part of the boundary between this 
State and South Carolina. He was again elected for the same 
purpose in 1796, and again in 1803. None of these commis- 
sions, however, were successful. 

In 1794 he was commissioned by Governor Spaight to be 
Major-General of the Third State Division, in view of the 
likelihood of war with France. Congress, by the Act of 
June 24, 1797, directed an embodiment of troops from the 
several States. The number to be raised by this State under 
the act was seven thousand two hundred and sixty-eight, and 
in September of that year Davie was appointed by Governor 
Ashe Major-General to command this detachment. As mat- 
ters became more serious, Congress, in May, 1798, authorized 
a provisional army of the United States of ten thousand men, 
and in this he was appointed a brigadier-general by President 
Adams, July 17, 1798, and was confirmed by the Senate on 
July 19th. Of this army Washington was made commander- 
in-chief, and he, in effect, committed to General Davie the 
selection of the officers for that part of the troops which should 
be raised in this State. In the same year General Davie pre- 
pared a system of cavalry tactics which was adopted by the 
Legislature and ordered to be printed. A copy of this is now 
in our State Library. 

General Davie came out of the war with the first military 
reputation in the State, and these successive appointments, so 
many years after, prove that North Carolina still turned to 
him as her greatest soldier. 


Just at this time, singularly enough, when in the receipt of 
high honors, State and national, his election for the borough 
of Halifax was first endangered. The circumstance is thus 
stated in a private letter from that town, written in August, 
1798: "The 'true whip?,' as they styled themselves, dined 
together under the oaks and toasted Mr. Jefferson. The other 
party, who were called 'aristocrats,' ate and drank in the 
house on entirely different principles. General Davie dined in 
the house with the ' aristocrats.' The ' true whigs ' took offense 
at, this and resolved to oppose his election, and it was only 
with much address that they were kept quiet." The writer 
adds: "If any person had had the impudence to dispute the 
(lection General Davie would certainly not have been re- 
turned. The rabble, which in all places is the majority, 
would have voted against him." 

He took his seat when the Legislature met. By that body, 
under the then constitutional mode, he was, on joint ballot, 
elected Governor of the State on December 4th, 1798, over 
Benjamin Williams (afterwards Governor), and was inaugu- 
rated December 7th. Nothing of special note took place dur- 
ing his tenure of office. President Adam> appointed an em- 
bassy to treat with the French Directory, con-Ming of Mr. 
Murray, then our Minister to Holland, Chief Justice Ells- 
worth, and Patrick Henry. The latter having declined on 
the ground of age and ill health, Governor Davie was ap- 
pointed in his stead, June 1, 1799. On September 10th he 
resigned the office of Governor, and on the 22d, left Halifax 
to join Mr. Ellsworth at Trenton. At his departure the 
people of Halifax and vicinity presented him with a compli- 
mentary address, which was written by a political adversary 
and signed by large numbers of the same party. 

On November 3, 1799, Messrs. Ellsworth and Davie em- 
barked in the frigate United States, from Newport, Rhode 
Island. Aware of the change- constantly taking place in the 
French government, they touched at Lisbon on the 27th of 
November. They left on the 21st of December, but being 
driven out of their course by a storm, they put into Corimna 
the 11 th of January, 1800, which they left by land on the 
27th, and on February 9th. at Burgos, in Spain, they met 
a courier from Talleyrand, the French Minister, inviting 


them, on the part of Bonaparte, who had become First 
Consul, to proceed to Paris, which place they reached on 
March 2d. These dates will show the vast difference which 
less than a century has made in the modes of traveling' and 
the transmission of intelligence. On April 8th the Com- 
missioners were received with marked politeness by the First 
Consul. Napoleon having left for Italy on the famous cam- 
paign of Marengo, the negotiations dragged till his return. 
On September 30, 1800, the treaty between the United States 
and France was signed by our Commissioners and by Joseph 
Bonaparte, Roederer, and Fleurieu, on the part of France. 
The conclusion of the treaty was celebrated with eclat at 
Morfontaine (the country-seat of Joseph Bonaparte), the First 
Consul and a brilliant staff attending. One who was then in 
Paris writes: "A man of his (Davie's) imposing appearance 
and dignified deportment could not fail to attract especial 
attention and remark wherever he went. I could not but re- 
mark that Bonaparte, in addressing the American legation at 
his levees, seemed for the time to forget that Governor Davie 
was second in the commission, his attention being more particu- 
larly directed to him." In the brilliant circles of the nascent 
empire of Napoleon he was distinguished by his elegance and 
his popular manners. His sojourn in Paris was very agree- 
able to him. He was an accomplished linguist and spoke 
French and Spanish fluently. 

In the fall of that year Governor Davie returned directly 
home. It is significant that the very day after the treaty was 
signed, France, by the treaty of St. Ildefonso, reacquired 
Louisiana from Spain, which it so soon after sold to the United 

On his return home Davie was solicited to become a candi- 
date for Congress in 1801, but his private affairs, by reason 
of his long absence, required his attention, and lie declined. 
Willis Alston, then a member of the same political party, was 
elected. In June of that year President Jefferson appointed 
Governor Davie head of a commission, with General Wilkin- 
son and Benjamin Hawkins, to negotiate with the Creeks and 
other Indians for further cession of lands. This he declined 
for the same reason that he had refused an election to Con- 
gress. In 1802 he was appointed by President Jefferson a 



commissioner on the part of the United States in the treaty 
to be made between North Carolina and the Tuscaroras, most 
of whom had moved from this State, but had retained a valu- 
;il>le lauded interest in Bertie county, lie met the agents of 
the State and the chiefs of the Indians at Kaleigh, and the 
treaty was signed December 4th, 1802, by virtue (if which 
King Blount and the remainder of the tribe removed to New 
York in June, 1803. In the spring of 1803, Alston having 
gone over to the opposite political party, General Uavic was 
again solicited by his friends to become a candidate for Con- 

O t/ 

gress. He accepted the nomination, but declined to make any 
canvass. He was charged with being an aristocrat and with 
I icing opposed to Mr. Jefferson, whose prestige was then all- 
powerful. He was defeated at the polls. 

He had lost his wife not long after his return from France. 
This, together with his political defeat, determined him to 
withdraw altogether from public life. In November, 1805, 
he removed to an estate he possessed at Tivoli, near Landsford, 
in South Carolina, just across the line from Mecklenburg 
county in this State. Here he lived in dignified ease and 

Many men, after the buffetings of a stormy or a busy life, 
have in like manner felt the need of rest before going hence. 
It was thus that the Emperor Charles V., at Juste, and 
Wolsey, who had " sounded all the depths and shoals of 
honor," at Leicester Abbey, had sought to put a space of con- 
templation between the active duties of life and the grave. 
Davie's country, however, did not forget him. During the 
second war with Great Britain, President Madison appointed 
him a major-general in the United States army, and he was 
confirmed by the Senate, March 2d, 1813. But "time steals 
fire from the mind as vigor from the limbs." Though not an 
old man. General Davie's early campaigns had told upon 
him. The sword which twenty-five years before had almost 
leapt of itself from the scabbard was now constrained to hang 
idly by his side, and he declined the appointment. General 
Harrison (afterwards President) was appointed in his stead 
and fought the battle of the Thames, October 5, 1813, in 
which Tecumseh was slain. The next year he in turn re- 
signed and General Andrew Jackson was appointed to succeed 


him, and the battle of New Orleans followed on January 8, 

General Davie's seat at Tivoli, on the Catawba, was the re- 
sort of many of the Revolutionary characters. In their 
journeys by private conveyance to Virginia or the North, 
the custom was to arrange to spend a day or two there 
with him, where he kept open house for his friends, and, 
sitting under an immense oak, from which there was a view 
of miles of the Catawba, they fought over the war together or 
discussed the workings of the new government and the Con- 
stitution they had established. This was all the more inter- 
esting, as much of his campaigning had taken place on and 
around this very spot. In this connection it is interesting to 
state that after his retirement to Tivoli he was much sought 
after in drawing wills. He drew some of the most famous 
wills in that State indeed, it is said, all of them in that part 
in which he resided, not one of which, except his own, was 
ever assailed. In this respect he had the fortune of Sugden 
(Lord Saint Leonard's), Governor Tilden, and many other 
famous lawyers. The contest over Governor Davie's will has 
just been settled by a decision of the Supreme Court of the 
United States, filed the 28th of March of this year (1892), in 
the case of Bedon vs. Davie, 144 U. S., 142, a very interesting 

His correspondence and other materials for histoiy must 
have been very large and very valuable. It was from his 
papers that the copy of the Mecklenburg Declaration of May 
20th, 1775, was procured, which is known as the " Davie 
Copy." Unfortunately all his family papers and all the his- 
torical material which had been carefully preserved by him 
for publication at some future time were destroyed during 
Sherman's raid. The banks of the Catawba were said to have 
been strewn with them, and nothing of the collection now 

In retirement ho displayed his accustomed public spirit by 
introducing improved methods of farming, and mainly at his 
instance a State Agricultural Society in South Carolina was 
formed, of which he was the first president. By his practice 
at the bar he had accumulated a large estate, which he dis- 
pensed with liberality and hospitality. 


When tlic end came he met it with the firmness of a soldier. 
His sun of life went down in a cloudless sky. He pa. <<! ;i\vay 
the 18th of November, 1820, in his sixty-fifth year. 

"Tin- hrni lic-s still, while the dew-drooping willows, 
I.iKr fund weeping mourners, lean o\er his grave. 

The liu'litninii's may llasli and the loud cannon rattlf. 
lie lieeds not, he hears not, he's free from all pain ; 

Hi- -In-ps his last sleep, he has fought his last battle, 
No sound can awake him to irlurv attain ! " 

He was buried at Waxhaw Church, Lancaster county, 

J t/ ' 

South ( 'aroliua, just across the Catawba river from his Tivoli 
plantation. The following modesl and truthful iiiM-ription in 
his tomb is said to be from the pen of his friend, Governor 
of South Carolina: 






















HE WAS HORN IN EDINP.I Uc.ll," 1756, 

* A mistake-. 


The foregoing is the main body and more strictly biographi- 
cal part of an address delivered by Judge Clark, July 4th, 
1892, at the celebration of the battle of Guilford Court. 
House, on the battle-field. 

Davie's life has been written more at length by Prof. For- 
dyce M. Hubbard and published in Sparks' 1 American Biog- 
raphy ; but 1 have used Judge Clark's sketch, and have 
slightly abbreviated it to suit the scope of my purpose. 

I am reminded by Colonel Benehan Cameron, a member 
of the North Carolina Publishing Society, that the lovers of 
fine horses will be glad to have it noted here that General 
Davie was once the owner of the celebrated " Sir Archie " 
the sire of American thoroughbreds the Godolphin of the 
American turf. Like all great commanders, Davie was a fine 
judge of a horse; he readily paid five thousand dollars for 
" Sir Archie " as a colt, and only parted from him in defer- 
ence to his friends, who urged him that such a price was very 
extravagant. Davie's judgment, however, was abundantly 
vindicated; for, many years afterwards, the commissioner of 
the court found that the horse had been worth to the estate 
of William Amis, his subsequent owner, the round sum of 
eighty thousand dollars. 

Some idea may be gathered of the interest of the turfmen 
in this great horse the great-grandsire of " Lexington ' 
from the fact that they are still disputing about the places of 
his birth and death. 

The truth of the matter is, says Colonel Cameron, who 
takes interest in this controversy, he was born at Carter Hall, 
in Virginia, died in North Carolina, and was buried on the 
" Mowfield ' plantation of Colonel Amis in Northampton 
county. The place of his burial is still pointed out by old 
people, for human nature is loath to allow the memory of 
great excellence to perish, even though exemplified in a dunilt 
beast. It is said that some years ago hi.* bones were taken 
up and carried to a museum in Philadelphia. 




Philosophic in his temperament and wise in his conduct, 
governed in all his actions by reason and judgment, and 
deeply imbued with Bible images, this virtuous and patriotic 
man (whom Mr. Jefferson called "the last of the Romans") 
had long fixed the term of his political existence at the age 
which the Psalmist assigns for the limit of manly life: "The 
days of our years are threescore years and ten ; and if by rea- 
son of strength they be fourscore years, yet is their strength 
labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away." 
He touched that age in 1828; and, true to all his purposes, 
he was true to his resolve in this, and executed it with the 
quietude and indifference of an ordinary transaction. He 
was in the middle of a third senatorial term, and in the full 
possession of all his faculties of mind and body; but his time 
for retirement had come the time fixed by himself; but 
fixed upon conviction and for well considered reasons, and as 
inexorable to him as if fixed by fate. To the friends who 
urged him to remain to the end of his term, and who insisted 
that his mind was as good as ever, he would answer that it 
was good enough yet to let him know that he ought to quit 
office before his mind quit him, and that he did not mean to 
risk the fate of the Archbishop of Grenada. He resigned his 
senatorial honors as he had worn them meekly, unostenta- 
tiously, in a letter of thanks and gratitude to the General 
Assembly of his State, and gave to repose at home that in- 
terval of thought and quietude which every wise man would 
wish to place between the turmoil of strife and the stillness of 
eternity. He had nine years of this tranquil enjoyment, and 
died without pain or suffering, June 29, 1837 characteristic 
in death as in life. It was eight o'clock in the morning when 
he felt that the supreme hour had come, had himself full- 
dressed with his habitual neatness, walked in tlie room and 


lay upon the bed, by turns conversing kindly with those 
who were about him, and showing by his conduct that he 
was ready and waiting, but hurrying nothing. It was tin- 
death of Socrates, all but the hemlock, and in that full faith 
of which the Grecian sage had only a glimmering. He 
directed his own grave on a point of sterile ridge (where no- 
body would wish to plough), and covered with a pile of rough 
flint-stone (which nobody would wish to build with), deeming 
this sterility and the uselessness of this rock the best security 
for that undisturbed repose of the bones which is still de- 
sirable to those who are indifferent to monuments. 

In almost all strongly marked characters there is usually 
some incident or sign, in early life, which shows that charac- 
ter 'and reveals to the close observer the type of the future 
man. So it w r as with Mr. Macon. His firmness, his patriot- 
ism, his self-denial, his devotion to duty, and disregard of office 
and emolument; his modesty, integrity, self-control, and sub- 
jection of conduct to the convictions of reason and the dic- 
tates of virtue, all so steadily exemplified in a long life, were 
all shown from the early age of eighteen, in the miniature 
representation of individual action, and only confirmed in the 
subsequent public exhibitions of a long, beautiful, and ex- 
alted career. 

He was of that age, and a student at Princeton College, at 
the time of the Declaration of American Independence. A 
small volunteer corps was then on the Delaware. He quit his 
books, joined it, served a term, returned to Princeton, and re- 
sumed his studies. In the year 1778 the Southern States had 
become a battle-field, big with their own fate, and possibly in- 
volving the issue of the war. British fleets and armies ap- 
peared there, strongly supported by the friends of the British 
cause; and the conquest of the South was fully counted upon. 
Help was needed in these States; and Mr. Macon, quitting 
college, returned \<> his native county in North Carolina, 
joined a militia company as a private, and marched to South 
Carolina then the theatre of the enemy's operations. He 
had his share in all the hardships and disasters of that trying 
time; was at the fall of Fort Moultrie, surrender of Charles- 
tun, defeat at Cainden, and in the rapid winter retreat across 


the upper part of North ( ';irolin;i. lie \va.- in the C;IIM| 

tin- left bank of the Yadkin when the sudden Hooding of that 
river, in the l>rief interval between the cm ing of the Ameri- 
cans and the coming up of the l!riti-di, arrested the pursuit of 
( 'ornwallis and cnalilid (ireene to allo\v some re-i to his 
wearied and exhan-ted men. In thi- camp, destitute of every- 
thing and with gloomy prospects ahead, a summons came to 
Mr. Macon from the (lovrrnor of North ('arolina, requiring 
liim to attend a meeting of the (Icncral Assembly, of which 
he had lieen elected a member, without his knowledge, by the 
people of his county. lie refused to go, and the incident 
being talked of through the camp, came to the knowledge of 
the general. (ireene was a nxiii himself and able to know 
a man. He felt at once that, if thi- report was true, this 
young soldier was no common character, and determined to 
verify the fact. He sent for the young man, inquired of him, 
heard the truth, and then asked for the reason of this unex- 
pected conduct 'this preference for a suffering camp over 
a comfortable seat in the General Assembly. Mr. Macon 
answered him, in his quaint and sententious way, that he had 
seen the faces of the British many times, but had never seen 
their backs, and meant to stay in the army till he did. Greene 
in-tantly saw the material the young man was made of and 
the handle by which he was to be worked. That material 
was patriotism, that handle a sens,. o f duty; and laying hold 
of this handle, he quickly worked the young soldier into a 
different conclusion from the one that he had arrived at. 
He told him he could do more good as a meml>er of the 
General Assembly than as a soldier; that in the army he \va- 
but one man, and in the General Assembly he might obtain 
many, with the sjipplies they needed, by showing the destitu- 
tion and suffering which he had seen in the camp: and that 
it was his duty to go. This view of duty and usefulne-s \va- 
decisive. Mr. .Macon obeyed the Governor's summons, and 
by his representations contributed to obtain the supplies which 
enabled (ireene to turn back and face Cornwallis tight him, 
cripple him, drive him further back than he had ad vane. 'd 
(for Wilmington is south of Caniden), disable him from re- 
maining in the South (of which, up to the battle of Guilford, 


he believed himself to be master), and sending him to York- 
town, where he was captured and the war ended. 

The philosophy of history has not yet laid hold of the battle 
of Guilford, its consequences and effects. That battle made 
the capture of Yorktown. The events are told in every his- 
tory: their connection and dependence in none. It broke up 
the plan of Cornwallis in the South, and changed the plan of 
Washington in the North. Cornwallis was to subdue the 
Southern States, and was doing it until Greene turned upon 
him at Guilford. Washington was occupied with Sir Henry 
Clinton, then in New York with twelve thousand British 
troops. He had formed the heroic design to capture Clinton 
and his army (the French fleet cooperating) in that city, and 
thereby putting an end to the war. All his preparations were 
going o<n for that grand consummation when he got news of 
the battle of Guilford, the retreat of Cornwallis to Wilming- 
ton, his inability to keep the field in the South, and his re- 
turn northward through the lower part of Virginia. He saw 
his advantage an easier prey and the same result, if suc- 
cessful. Cornwallis or Clinton, either of them captured, 
would put an end to the war. Washington changed his plan, 
deceived Clinton, moved rapidly upon the weaker general, 
captured him and his seven thousand men, and ended the 
Revolutionary war. The battle of Guilford put that cap- 
ture into Washington's hands; and thus Guilford and York- 
town became connected; and the philosophy of history shows 
their dependence, and that the lesser event was father to the 
greater. The State of North Carolina gave General Greene 
twenty-five thousand acres of western land for that day's 
work, now worth a million of dollars; but the day itself has 
not yet obtained its proper place in American history. 

The military life of Mr. Macon finished with his departure 
from the camp on the Yadkin, and his civil public life com- 
menced on his arrival at the General Assembly, to which he 
had been summoned that civil public life in which he was 
continued above forty years by free elections Representative 
in Congress under Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madi- 
son, and long the Speaker of the House; Senator in Congress 
under Madison, Monroe, and John Quincy Adams; and often 


elected President of the Senate, and until voluntarily declin- 
ing; twice refusing to he Postmaster-General under Jefferson; 
never taking any office hnt that to which lie was elected; ;md 
resigning his lust senatorial term when it wa- only half run. 
But a characteristic trait remains to be told of his military 
life one that has neither precedent nor imitation (the ex- 
ample of \\'ashington being out of the line of comparison): 
he refused to receive pay or to accept promotion, and served 
three years as a private through mere devotion to his country. 
And all the long length of his life was conformable to this 
patriotic and disinterested beginning: and thus the patriotic 
principles of the future Senator were all revealed in early life 
and in the obscurity of an unknown situation. Conformably 
to this beginning, he refused to take anything under the mod- 
ern acts of Congress for the benefit of the surviving officers 
and soldiers of the Revolution, and voted against them all, 
-ay ing they bad suffered alike (citizens and military), and all 
been rewarded together in the establishment of independence; 
that the debt to the army had been settled by pay, by pen- 
sions to the wounded, by half-pay and land to the officers; 
that no military claim could be founded on depreciated conti- 
nental paper money, from which the civil functionaries who 
performed service, and farmers who furnished supplies, suf- 
fered as much as any. On this principle he voted against the 
bill for Lafayette, against all the modern Revolutionary pen- 
sions and land bounty acts, and refused to take anything 
under them (for many were applicable to himself). 

His political principles were deep-rooted, innate, subject to 
no change and to no machinery of party. He was democratic 
in the broad sense of the word, as signifying a capacity in the 
people for self-government; and in its party sense, as in favor 
of a plain and economical administration of the Federal Gov- 
ernment, and against latitudinariaii constructions of the Con- 
stitution. He was a party man, not in the hackneyed sense 
of the word, but only where principle was concerned; and was 
independent of party in all his social relations, and in all the 
proceedings which he disapproved. Of this he gave a strong 
instance in the case of General Hamilton, whom he deemed 
honorable and patriotic; and utterly refined to be concerned 


in a movement proposed to affect him personally, though po- 
litically opposed to him. He venerated Washington, admired 
the varied abilities and high qualities of Hamilton, and 
esteemed and respected the eminent Federal gentlemen of his 
time. He had affectionate regard for Madison and Monroe; 
but Mr. Jefferson was to him the full and perfect exemplifi- 
cation of the republican statesman. His almost fifty years of 
personal and political friendship and association with Mr. 
Randolph is historical, and indissolubly connects their names 
and memories in the recollection of their friends, and in his- 
tory, if it does them justice. He was the early friend of 
General Jackson, and intimate with him when he was a Sena- 
tor in Congress under the administration of the elder Mr. 
Adams; and was able to tell Congress and the world who he 
was when he began to astonish Europe and America by his 
victories. He* was the kind observer of the conduct of young 
men, encouraging them by judicious commendation when he 
saw them making efforts to become useful and respectable, 
and never noting their faults. He was just in all things, and 
in that most difficult of all things, judging political opponents, 
to whom he would do no wrong, not merely in word or 
act, but in thought. He spoke frequently in Congress, 
always to the point, and briefly and wisely; and was one of 
those speakers whom Mr. Jefferson described Dr. Franklin to 
have been a speaker of no pretension and great perform- 
ance, who spoke more good sense while he was getting up 
out of his chair, and getting back into it, than many others 
did in long discourses; and he suffered no reporter to dress up 
a speech for him. 

He was above the pursuit of wealth, but also above de- 
pendence and idleness; and, like an old Roman of the elder 
Cato's time, worked in the fields at the head of his slaves in 
the intervals of public duty, and did not cease this labor until 
advancing age rendered him unable to stand the hot sun of 
summer the only season of the year when senatorial duties 
left him at liberty to follow the plough or handle the hoe. 
1 think it was the summer f 1S1T that was the last time 
(he told me) he tried it, and found the sun too hot for him 
then sixty years of age, a Senator, and the refuser of all 

N ATM AM HI, .MA*'(>.\. 87 

office. How often T think of him when I see at Washington 
robustious men going ill rough a scene of supplication, tribu- 
lation, and degradation, to obtain oilier, which the salvation 
of the soul does not impose upon the vilest sinner. His 
fields, his flocks and his herds yielded an ample supply of 
domestic productions. A small crop of tobacco three hogs- 
heads when the season was good, two when bad purchased 
the exotics which comfort ; md necessity required and which 
the farm did not produce. He was not rich, but rich enough 
to dispense hospitality and charity, to receive all guests in his 
house, from the President to the day-laborer no other title 
being necessary to enter his house but that of an honest man ; 
rich enough to bring up his family (two daughters) as ac- 
complished ladies, and marry them to accomplished gentlemen 
one to William Martin, Esq., and the other to William 
Eaton, Esq., of Roanoke, my early schoolfellow and friend 
for more than half a century; and, above all, he was rich 
enough to pay as he went and never to owe a dollar to any 

He was steadfast in his friendships and would stake him- 
self for a friend, but would violate no point of public duty to 
please or oblige him. Of this Ins relations with Mr. Randolph 
aave a signal instance. He drew a knife to defend him in the 
theatre at Philadelphia, when menaced by some naval and 
military officers for words spoken in debate and deemed offen- 
sive to their professions; yet, when Speaker of the House of 
Representatives, he displaced Mr. Randolph from the head of 
the Committee of Ways and Means because the chairman of 
that committee should be on terms of political friendship with 
the administration which Mr. Randolph had then ceased to 
be with Mr. Jefferson's. He was above executive office, even 
the highest the President could give; but not above the lowest 
the people could give, taking that of justice of the peace in 
his county, and refusing that of Postmaster-General at Wash- 
ington. He was opposed to nepotism, and to all quartering 
of his connections on the government; and in the course of 
his forty-years' service, with the absolute friendship of many 
administrations and the perfect respect of all, he never had 
office or contract for any of his blood. He refused to be a 


candidate for the Vice-Presidency, but took the place of Elec- 
tor on the Van Buren ticket in 1836. He was against paper 
money and the paper system, and was accustomed to present 
the strong argument against both, in the simple phrase that 
this was a hard-money government, made by hard-money 
men, who had seen the evil of paper money and meant to 
save their posterity from it. He was opposed to security- 
ships, and held that no man ought to be entangled in the 
affairs of another, and that the interested parties alone 
those who expected to find their profit in the transaction- 
should bear the bad consequences, as well as enjoy the good 
ones, of their own dealings. He never called any one 
"friend " without being so, and never expressed faith in the 
honor and integrity of a man without acting up to the declara- 
tion when the occasion required it. Thus, in constituting his 
friend, Weldon N. Edwards, Esq., his testamentary and sole 
executor, with large discretionary powers, he left all to his 
honor, and forbade him to account to any court or power for 
the manner in which he should execute that trust. This pro- 
hibition was so characteristic, and so honorable to both parties, 
and has been so well justified by the event, that I give it in 
his own words, as copied from his will, to-wit: 

" I subjoin the following, in my own handwriting, as a 
codicil to this my last will and testament, and direct that it 
be a part thereof that is to say, having full faith in the 
honor and integrity of my executor above named, he shall 
not be held to account to any court or power whatever for the 
discharge of the trust confided by me to him in and by the 
foregoing will." 

And the event has proved that his judgment, as always, 
committed no mistake when it bestowed that confidence. He 
had his peculiarities idiosyncrasies, if any one pleases but 
they were born with him, suited to him, constituting a part 
of his character, and necessary to its completeness. He never 
subscribed to charities, but gave, and freely, according to his 
means the left hand not knowing what the right hand did. 
lie never subscribed for new books, giving as a reason to the 
soliciting agent that nobody purchased his tobacco until it 
was inspected, and lie could buy no book until he had exam- 


incd it. He would not attend the Congress Presidential ( 'MU- 
CUS of 1824, although it was sure to nominate his own 
ehoice (Mr. Crawford); and, when a reason was wanted, lie 
gave it in the brief answer that he attended one once and 
they cheated him, and he had said that he would never 
attend another. He always wore the same dress- that is to 
say, a suit of the same material, cut, and e<>lor superfine navy 
Miic the whole suit from the same piece, and in the fashion 
of the time of the Revolution; and always replaced by a new 
one before it showed age. He was neat in his person, always 
wore fine linen, a fine cambric stock, a fine fur hat with a 
brim to it, fair top-boots the boot outside the pantaloons, on 
the principle that leather was stronger than cloth. He would 
wear no man's honors, and when complimented on the report 
nil the Panama mission, which, as Chairman of the Com- 
mittee on Foreign Relations, he had presented to the Senate, 
he would answer, "Yes, it is a good report; Tazewell wrote 
it." Left to himself, he was ready to take the last place and 
the lowest seat anywhere; but in his representative capacity 
he would suffer no derogation of a constitutional or of a popu- 
lar right. Thus, when Speaker of the House, and a place 
behind the President's Secretaries had been assigned him in 
some ceremony, he disregarded the programme, and, as the 
elect of the elect of all the people, took his place next after 
those whom the national vote had elected. And in 1803, on 
the question to change the form of voting for President and 
Vice-President, and the vote wanting one of the constitu- 
tional number of two-thirds, he resisted the rule of the House 
which restricted the Speaker's vote to a tie, or to a vote which 
would make a tie claimed his constitutional right to vote as 
a member, obtained it, gave the vote, made the two-ihirds, 
and carried the amendment. 

And, what may well be deemed idiosyncratic in these days, 
he was punctual in the performance of all his minor duties to 
the Senate, attending its sittings to the moment, attending all 
the committees to which he was appointed, attending all the 
funerals of the members and officers of the Houses, always in 
time at every place where duty required him; and refusing 
double mileage for one traveling when elected from the 


House of Representatives to the Senate or summoned to an 
extra session. He was an habitual reader and student of the 
Bible, a pious and religious man, and of the " Baptist per- 
suasion," as he was accustomed to express it. 

I have a pleasure in recalling the recollections of this wise, 
just and good man, and in writing them down, not without 
profit, I hope, to rising generations, and at least as extending 
the knowledge of the kind of men to whom we are indebted 
for our independence and for the form of government which 
they established for us. Mr. Macon was the real Cincinnatus 
of America, the pride and ornament of my native State, my 
hereditary friend through four generations, my mentor in the 
first seven years of my senatorial, and the last seven of his 
senatorial life ; and a feeling of gratitude and of filial affection 
mingles itself with this discharge of historical duty to his 

Mr. Ben ton called his sketch, which appears in his Thirty- 
years' View, " Retiring of Mr. Macon.'' It is well done, and 
interesting also because it is what one great man said of an- 
other. Yet I confess with some mortification that I have 
never seen it in print in North Carolina except in Benton's 

To the foregoing admirable sketch by Benton I subjoin the 
following copious extracts from the Memoir of Nathaniel 
Macon by Weldon N. Edwards, published in July, 1862: 

Nathaniel Macon was -born on the 17th of December, 1758, 
in the county of Bute, of the then province of North Caro- 
lina, in the part of it now Warren, within a few miles of the 
present village of Warrenton, of poor and respectable parents. 
His great-grandfather was a Huguenot and came over from 
France to escape the persecutions consequent upon the revo- 
cation of the Edict of Nantes, in 1685. His father, Gideon 
H. Macon, was born in Virginia, whence he came to North 
Carolina. His mother was a native of North Carolina and a 
daughter of Edward Jones, of Shocco. Tie lost his father in 

.\ \TMAMKI. .\I.\CO.\. 91 

early boyhood, and was left, with many brother- ;ind si-ters, 
in the care iif hi- widowed iimtluT, with such moderate means 
of support as to require the utmost can- ami industry t> get 
on even tolerably in the world. lie assisted in all the domes- 
tic offices and labors coninion with hoys at that day. lie ac- 
quired tlie rudiments of education in the neighhorli 1, at 

what was called an "' old-field school." The application, prog- 
ress, and good haliits of the hoy gave sncdi promise of the future 
man that it was resolved to make every effort to give him a 
thorough education, and he \v i- accordingly -cut to Princeton 
College, Xew Jersey. His own inclinations eagerly seconded 
the hopeful purpose of his friends. While there, he prose- 
cuted his studies with fond diligence, and sought all the ave- 
nues to useful knowledge with unflagging zeal. Xor did he 
relax his efforts in this respect after his return home, devot- 
ing to such books as were within his reach all the time he 
could spare from the ordinary duties of life; but he met with 
great difficulties, owing to the scarcity of books and his own 
poverty. In the latter part of his life he was often heard to 
say that his eyesight failed him sooner than it otherwise would 
have done, in consequence of his reading so much by firelight 
in his youth and earlv manhood, being then too poor to buy 
candles, his small patrimony having been exhausted during 
his minority in his support and education. 

His love for Xorth ( Carolina was sincere and thorough. In 
all that concerned her character, her institutions, her wel- 
fare, he felt an ever-wakeful solicitude. Although he re- 
ceived his collegiate education in a distant State, he ever after 
gave a decided preference to the seminaries of his own loved 
Xorth ( 'arolina. AY hen his son-in-law, AYilliam Eaton, Sr.. 
in the year 1823 was about to semi two of his sous to Cam- 
bridge, he di-suaded him from it and advised him to send 
them to the University of North Carolina, because, among 
other reasons, they would there make acquaintances of many 
of the future men of the State, and contract friendships that 
would be of service to them in the part they were de-lined to 
act in the great drama of life. 

He studied law, but never applied for a license to practice. 
There is now in possession of his grandson, AVilliam Eaton, Jr. 


(who shared his confidences and affections, and is a worthy 
representative of his principles and virtues), an old London- 
bound edition of Blackstone's Commentaries, which was used 
by him, and which is highly valued as a family relic. Like 
all persons of taste, he admired the classic elegance of this 
celebrated work, but regarded its author as too subservient to 
power, and wanting in manliness and independence. He con- 
sidered Sir Edward Coke a much better friend to English 

Stability and consistency were strong points in Mr. Macon's 
character, formed upon his uncompromising adherence to 
principle and unswerving fidelity to duty. In his conversa- 
tion he was easy and unaffected, in his manners and dress a 
decided model of republican simplicity, pretentious in noth- 
ing; all who approached him felt conscious of receiving the 
civility and respect demanded by the nicest sense of propriety. 
To these characteristics did he owe much of that firm hold 
upon the confidence and esteem of his countrymen which sus- 
tained him in the severe trials always to be met in the great 
battle of life. His was an enduring popularity; it never 
waned; it existed in as much vigor and freshness at the close 
of his life as at any former period; it lived after him, and 
it is the source of the highest gratification to his numerous 
friends and admirers that he is still often quoted as the bright 
exemplar of " the honest man and the wise and virtuous 

Though so long honored, and so many years the depositary 
of public honors and public trusts, Mr. Macon's was the rare 
merit of never having solicited any one to vote for him, or 
even intimated a wish that he should; and though no one 
shared more fully the confidence of a large circle of influen- 
tial friends, his is the praise of never having solicited the 
slightest interest for his own preferment. Public honors 
.-.ought him; he prized them only as the reward of faithful 
and virtuous performance, and regarded place as the means 
merely of bringing him in nearer contact with public duty. 
He made no popular harangues, seeking to avoid temptation 
of being betrayed into promi- .- which he could not or would 
not fulfill, or into protestations which his heart would not 


sanction. He was never found rambling through his Con- 
gressional District, seeking to engineer himself into popu- 
lar favor by means which self-respect and a just sense of the 
rights of others forbade. His rule was to attend punctually, 
once a year, if health permitted, the first court held in each 
county in his district after his return from Congress. There 
lie met his constituents, there he received their greeting- and 
heard their complaints; there, without simulation, gave a 
full account of his stewardship. In his intercourse with 
them lie \va> easy, fiank, and communicative, never with- 
hulding his opinion upon matters of public concernment, and 
always inviting them to the exercise of the utmost freedom 
of thought and of speech as the highest privilege of freemen 
and the surest guard of liberty. lie never attended what, 
in hi- own chaiacteristic language, he called " a man-dinner," 
regarding all such political pageants as having too much de- 
ceptions exterior, and as being too little calculated to better 
the popular heart or enlighten the popular mind. And when, 
upon his retirement from Congress, a large portion of his old 
constituents tendered him the compliment of a public dinner, 
he declined it iii a brief note, saying that " he had never been 
at such a show, and that he had already received the mo.-t 
^ratifying proof* of their good-will and esteem." 

To shun all ostentation- display and the emptiness of pride 
was, with him, a jirinri />/<>; and to do good to his fellow-men, 
and to society, a rule of action which he scrupulously observed, 
always abstaining, in the employmenl of his faculties, and in 
the use of the abundant goods with which frugal indu-iry 
had li|e--ed him, from the gratification of any passion, the 
indulgence of which prudence forbade to others less favored 
by fortune thus teaching, by both precept and example, the 
necessity of temperance, frugality and industry, a> the suresl 
and best foundation for contentment and plenty. 

Of generous and unsuspicious nature, he never looked with 
imcharitableness on the actions of hi- fcllow-meu, hut, with 
the strength and armor of a well-balanced mind, gave to them 
the calmest consideration and assigned to each ir- appropriate 
place in the scale of good and evil. Of philosophic mind, 
subdued temper, and great self-command, he met the inci- 


dents and accidents of life, not with stoic indifference, but 
with quiet submission yielding nothing to passion, less to 
despondency, and looking to passing events as to a school for 
instruction, and deducing from them useful lessons to guide 
him in the pathway of life. 

Of him it may be emphatically said, that he thought for 
himself, but reposing, with confidence, on his discriminating 
sense of justice and integrity of purpose, he gave to all sub- 
jects the fullest deliberation, and never jumped to conclusions 
in advance of his judgment. But when he had formed an 
opinion he adhered to it with a fearless and virtuous inflexi- 
bility which yielded to no importunity or persuasion. This, 
with some, subjected him to the charge of obstinacy. 

" Virtue itself 'scapes not calumnious strokes." 

He was chary of promises, but always punctual and exact 
in performance; would give his bond or note to no' man, 
contract no debts, would buy nothing without paying for it. 
" Pay as you go " was a law to him which he inflexibly ob- 
served. He mastered all his wants and kept them in strict 
subjection to reason. He would lend money to a friend, but 
never take interest. He classed labor among the virtues, 
never called for help in anything he could do himself, 
labored often in his fields at the head of his slaves, during 
the intervals allowed from public duties, and topped all his 
own tobacco, when at home at the proper season, till the 
infirmities of age rendered him unable to stand the heat of 
the sun. He was fond of the chase and indulged in his favor- 
ite amusement, the pursuit of the fox and the deer, as long 
as he lived. 

He spoke often in Congress seldom long. His speeches 
were always to the point, strong, practical, sententious, often 
furnishing materials for the rhetorical displays of others. A 
most distinguished member once characterized his speeches as 
" dishes of the best material served up in the best manner." 
I'nless prevented by bad health, he was always in his seat, 
voted on every question, was punctual in attendance upon 
committees, and ever ready at the call of duty. 


He was fond of iv:iding, 1ml his favorite study was 111:111. 
" He made choice of liniiiiin naiiin- fur the object of his 
thoughts." To (his predilection did lie owe that consummate 
knowledge of the human character, and those practical lessons 
of wisdom (of so miieli eonsiM|ueiice in the conduct of lile) 
which gave liiiu rank among the " wisest and best." 

Tliere is no surer test of merit than is found in the favorable 
opinions of the wise and the good, funned in the unrestricted 
freedom of social intercourse, when the seal of reserve is un- 
loosed, and neither the pride of ostentation nor the dread of 
criticism or censure invites to concealment. Impressed with 
this truth, with a view to impart deeper interest to this sketch, 
Ity stamping the seal of verity upon the high and noble traits 
it portrays, recourse is had to the correspondence of eminent 
and distinguished statesmen, to whom all the avenues of 
knowledge were opened by close intimacy and long associa- 
tion in public life. Thomas Jefferson, whose monument is to 
be found in the Declaration of Independence, and in the en- 
during popular veneration which he so largely shared, but a 
few weeks after his first inauguration as President of the 
United States, in 1801, thus writes to Mr. Macon: " And in 
all cases when an office becomes vacant in your State, as the 
distance would occasion a great delay, were you to wait to be 
regularly consulted, I shall be much obliged to you to recom- 
mend the best characters. There is nothing I am so anxious 
about as making the best possible appointments, and no case 
in which the best men are more liable to mislead us by yield- 
ing to the solicitations of applicants. For this reason your own 
spontaneous recommendation would be desirable." Thus did 
Mr. Jefferson stake an important portion of his administrative 
duties upon his high estimate of Mr. Macon's integrity and 
wisdom. Again, in another letter to Mr. Macon, the 24th of 
March, 1826, Mr. Jefferson says: "My grandson, Thomas 
Jefferson Randolph, the bearer of this letter, on a journey to 
the North, will pass two or three days, perhaps, in Washing 
ton. I cannot permit him to do this without presenting him 
to a friend of so long standing, whom I consider as the stricte-i 
of our models of genuine republicanism. Let him be able to 
say, when you are gone, but not forgotten, that he had seen 


Nathaniel Macon, upon whose tomb will be written, ' UUimus 
Romanorum ! ' I only ask yon to give him a hearty shake 
of the hand, on my account, as well as his own, assuring yon 
he merits it as a citizen, to which I will add my unceasing 
affection to yourself." 

Of Mr. Macon's claims to distinction, and to take rank on 
the roll of fame among the first of those who embellish the 
pages of American history, that sagacious statesman, John 
Randolph of Roanoke, whose perception of character was 
rarely at fault, in a letter to Mr. Macon, 14th December, 
1828, thus speaks: " Your kind letter of the 10th is just 
now received. Many, many thanks for it. I am truly con- 
cerned at the causes which justly occasion you uneasiness; yet, 
when I reflect, I know of no man in the United States whom 
I would so soon be as yourself. There is no one who stands 
so fair in the public estimation ; and, with the single exception 
of General Washington, there is not one of your times who 
will stand so fair with posterity as yourself. There are 
various sorts of reputations in the world. Some are obtained 
by cringing and puffing, some are actually begged for and 
given as an alms to importunity, some are earned by sheer 
impudence. No one has had a better opportunity of observing 
this than yourself; and there is no keener observer." 

Upon such testimonials as these, from such high and pure 
sources, the reputation of this just, and virtuous man may 
safely repose. They bespeak a name and a fame which dignify 
humanity, and invest his memory with a usefulness scarcely 
less to be prized than his services while living. 

This sketch would be imperfect did it not, notice the sug- 
gestive fact that in his latter years Mr. Macon had painful 
misgivings for the future of his country. 'Tis true he did not 
parade his opinions before the public gaze, pref en-ing rather 
to encourage, not to alarm, the popular mind; but often when 
his thoughts were turned on what lie deemed the political 
distempers and proclivities of the times, did lie say to a friend 
in his own pregnant language: " I am afraid of all my labors 
have been for nothing ' : obviously referring to his hardships 
in the tented field and his arduous and well-directed labors 
in the councils of his country, having devoted to these 


patriotic ollices (lie greater part of a long life, commencing 
before manhood and ending with its close. At one period he 
reposed with entire confidence on the conviction that popular 
rights and public liberty were effectually secured by the Con- 
stitution of the United States, but this hopeful reliance failed 
him as early as 1824. In a debate, at that period, in the 
Senate of the United States, on the bill for a subscription to 
the Delaware and Chesapeake Canal, Mr. Macon said: "I 
rise with a full heart to take my last farewell of an old friend 
that I have always admired and loved the Constitution of 
the United States. In times of old, whenever any 

question touching the Constitution was brought forward, it 
was discussed day after day; that time is now passed. * * * 
Do a little now and a little then, and by and by you will 
render the government as powerful and unlimited as the 
British government was. We go on deciding these things 
without looking at the Constitution; and I suppose we will, 
in a few years, do as was done in England. We shall ap- 
point a committee to hunt for precedents. My heart is full 
when I think of all this; and what is to become of us I cannot 
say. My fears may be groundless; they may be 

nothing but the suggestions of a worn-out old man; but they 
are sincere, and I am alarmed for the safety of this govern- 

In vain did he then, as often before, raise his warning 
voice against the dangers of inroads upon the Constitution. 
And now that the direst calamities are upon us, resulting from 
its utter overthrow and its base prostitution by wicked men 
to the worst and most wicked purposes how loudly do they 
proclaim the unerring sagacity of his gifted and far-reaching 

In person Macon was above the middle size, of florid but 
fair complexion, keen blue eyes, animated but kindly counte- 
nance, not very good-looking, but possessed of a symmetrical 
form and strength of body. His manners were simple and 
unostentatious, but not without sufficient dignity and firmness. 



He was married early in life to Miss Hannali Plummer, of 
Warren, his own county. 

A good story is told of the way he won her. He proposed 
in her presence to his rival that they should settle their claim 
to her hand by a game of cards. This was agreed to and 
Macon lost. He then raised up his hands, and with eyes 
fixed on the object of his affection, exclaimed: "Hannah, 
notwithstanding I have lost you fairly, love is superior to 
honesty: I cannot give you up." He won, and was married 
to her October 9th, 1783. 

He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1791, 
and served continuously until 1815, when he was elected to 
the Senate. He was also a trustee of the University and a 
justice of the peace, both of which offices he gave up in 1828, 
at the time he resigned his seat in the Senate. 

He was not a party man, but believed in true democracy. 
He complained often that some of the most vital parts of the 
Constitution had been construed or enacted away before he 
left Congress. He was a strict constructionist. 

He presided over the Constitutional Convention of 1835, 
and took part in its deliberations upon the more important 
questions. With Gaston, he favored religious toleration, and 
made a speech against the clause in the old Constitution pro- 
hibiting all but those of the Protestant religion from holding 
any office of trust or profit in North Carolina. 

He was averse to having his picture taken. This peculiar- 
ity grew 011 him, until in very old age he is said to have 
threatened a persistent picture-maker with libel if, as he had 
suggested, he should take his (Macon's) picture without his 
knowledge. Hardly a growth so strong and rugged without 
some gnarls and knots. The picture of him given in this 
book is from a portrait by Randall, and is pronounced a good 
likeness by Mr. J. A. Egerton (an old neighbor) and others 
who knew him intimately. 


He paid his physician attending him in his last illness be- 
fore he died, and directed the details of his burial. 

The Life of Macon was written in 1840 by Edward K. 
Gotten; but in his book of two hundred and seventy-two 
pages, Gotten says comparatively little of Macon, and devotes 
most of his space to his own views on many subjects, Macon's 
opinions and acts sometimes furnishing the text. If the bnnk 
was not entitled Life of Macon it would be more interesting. 
As indicating what a "Warren county gentleman of much 
leisure and considerable reading, of good associates and ordi- 
nary capacity, was thinking about in 1840, the book ought to 
be preserved. 

In order to give an idea of Macon's directness and sim- 
plicity, I offer an abbreviated report of one of his speeches 
made in the Senate, taken almost at random from the Abr'uly- 
ment of the Debates of Congress. The time was January 
20, 1820. The question was the admission of Missouri, as 
well as Maine, into the Union. The protected States urged 
an amendment restricting slavery in Missouri before it should 
be admitted as a State, which amendment Mr. Macon opposed 
with his usual sound sense. The speech is imperfectly re- 
ported, but contains the germ of almost all that could have 
been said on the subject from his standpoint. 



Mr. Macon, of North Carolina, said that he agreed in opin- 
ion with the gentleman who had declared this to be the 
greatest question ever debated in the Senate, and that it 
ought to be discussed in the calmest manner, without attempt- 
ing to excite passion or prejudice. It was, however, to be re- 
gretted that while some of those who supported the motion 
were quite calm and cool they used a good many hard words, 
which had no tendency to continue the good humor which 
they recommended. He would endeavor to follow their ad- 
vice, but must be pardoned for not following their example 
in the use of hard words. If, however, one should escape 
him, it would be contrary to his intention, and an act of in- 
discretion, not of design or premeditation. He hoped to ex- 
amine the subject with great meekness and humility. 

The debate had brought forcibly to his recollection the 
anxiety of the best patriots of the nation, when the present 
Constitution was examined by the State conventions which 
adopted it. The public mind was then greatly excited, and 
men in whom the people properly placed the utmost confi- 
dence were divided. There was then no whisper about dis- 
union, for every one considered the Union as absolutely neces- 
sary for the good of all. But to-day we have been told by 
the honorable gentleman from Pennsylvania (Mr. Lowrie) 
that he would prefer disunion rather than that slaves should 
be earned west of the Mississippi. Age, Mr. Macon said, may 
have rendered him timid, or education may have prevailed on 
him to attach greater blessings to the Union and the Con- 
stitution than they deserve. If this be the case, and it be 
an error, it was one he had no desire to be free from even 
after what ho had heard in this debate. Get clear of this 
Union and it will be found vastly more difficult to unite again 
and form another. There were no parties in the country at 

MACO.N'S si-KKcn. 101 

the time if \viis formed, not even upon this question. The 
men \vlio carried the nation through tlic Revolution were alive, 
and members of the Convention. Washington was at their 
head. Have we a Washington now? No. Is there one in the 
nation to fill his place? Fo. ITis like, if ever, has been rarely 
seen; nor can we, rationally, expect another in our day. Let 
us not speak of disunion as an easy thing. If ever it shall 
(diiie, it will bring evils enough for the best men to 
encounter, and all good men, in every nation, lovers of 
freedom, will lament it. This Constitution is now as much 
an experiment, as it was in the year 1789. It went into opera- 
tion about the time the French Revolution commenced. The 
wars which grew out of that, and the difficulties and perplexi- 
ties which we had to encounter, in consequence of the im- 
proper acts of belligerents, kept the people constantly attached 
to the government. It has stood well the trial of trouble and 
of war, and answered, in those times, the purposes for which 
it was formed and adopted; but now it is to be tried, in time 
of universal peace, whether a government within a govern- 
ment can sustain itself and preserve the liberty of the citizen. 
When we hear the exclamation "Disunion, rather than slaves 
be carried over the Mississippi," it ought not to be forgotten 
that the union of the people and the Confederation carried us 
through the Revolutionary war (a Avar of which no man can 
wish to see the like again in this country); but, as soon as 
peace came, the Confederation was found to be entirely unfit 
for it; so unfit that it was given up for the present Constitu- 
tion. Destroy this Union, and what may be the condition of 
the country, no man, not the most sagacious, can even im- 
agine. It will surely be much worse than it was before the 
Constitution was adopted; and that must be well remembered. 
The proposed amendment is calculated to produce geo- 
graphical parties, or why admonish us to discuss it with mod- 
eration and good temper? ]STo man who has witnessed the 
effect of parties nearly geographical can wish to see them 
revived. Their acts formerly produced uneasiness, to say the 
least of them, to good men of every party. General Wash- 
ington has warned us against them; but he is now dead, and 
his advice may soon be forgotten; form geographical parties 


and it will be discarded. Instead of forming sectional parties 
it would be more patriotic to do them away. But party and 
patriotism are not always the same. Town meetings and 
resolutions to inflame one part of the nation against another 
can never benefit the people, though they may gratify an 
individual. Leave the people to form their own opinions, 
without the aid of inflammatory speeches at town meetings, 
arid they will always form them correctly. No town meeting 
was necessary to inform or inflame the public mind against 
the law giving members of Congress a salary instead of a daily 
allowance. The people formed their own opinions, disap- 
proved it, and it was repealed. So they will always act if 
left to themselves. Let not parties formed at home for State 
purposes be brought into Congress to disturb and distract the 
Union. The general government hitherto has been produc- 
tive enough of parties to satisfy those who most delight in 
them; so that they are not likely to be long wanted in it. 
Enough, and more than enough, has been produced by the 
difficulty of deciding what is and what is not within the limits 
of the Constitution. And, at this moment, we have diffi- 
culties enough to scuffle with without adding the present ques- 
tion. The dispute between the Bank of the United States 
and the State banks, the want of money by the government, 
the increase of taxes in the midst of increasing debts, and the 
dispute with Spain might serve for this session. 

All the States now have equal rights and all are content. 
Deprive one of the least right which it now enjoys in common 
with the others, and it will no longer be content. So, if the 
Government had an unlimited power to put whatever condi- 
tions it pleased on the admission of a new State into the Union, 
a State admitted with a condition unknown to the others 
would not be content, no matter what might be the character 
of the condition, even though it was not to steal or commit 
murder. The difference in the terms of admission would not 
be acceptable. All the new States have the same rights that 
the old have, and why make Missouri an exception? Slip 
has not done a single act to deserve it, and why depart, in 
her case, from the great American principle that the people 
of each State can govern themselves? No reason has been 


assigned for the attempt at the departure, nor can one be as- 
signed which would not apply as strongly to Louisiana. In 
every free country that ever existed the first violations of the 
principles of government were indirect and not well under- 
stood, or supported with great zeal by only a part of tin- 

All the country west of the Mississippi was acquired by the 
same treaty, and on the same terms, and the people in every 
part have the same rights; but, if the amendment be adopted, 
Missouri will not have the same rights which Louisiana now 
enjoys. She has been admitted into the Union as a full sister, 
but her twin-sister, Missouri, under the proposed amendment, 
is to be admitted as a sister of the half-blood, or rather as a 
stepdaughter, under an unjust stepmother for what? Be- 
cause she, as well as Louisiana, performed well her part dur- 
ing the late war, and because she has never given the general 
government any trouble. The operation of the amendment 
is unjust as it relates to the people who have moved there from 
other States. They carried with them the property which was 
common in the States they left, secured to them by the Consti- 
tution and laws of the United States as well as by the treaty. 
There they purchased public lands and settled with their 
slaves, without a single objection to their owning and carry- 
ing them; but now, unfortunately for them, after they have 
been to the trouble and expense of building houses and clear- 
ing plantations in the new country it has been discovered that 
they had no right to carry their slaves with them and that they 
must now move and make room for those who are considered 
a better people. The country was bought with the money 
of all, slaveholders as well as those who are not; and every one 
knew when he bought land and moved with his property he 
had a perfect right to do so. And no one till last session ever 
said to the contrary or moved the restriction about slaves. 
The object now avowed is to pen up the slaves and their own- 
ers, and not permit them to cross the Mississippi to better their 
condition, where there is room enough for all and good range 
for man and beast. (And man is as much improved by mov- 
ing and range as the beast of the field.) But what is still more 
unaccountable, a part of the land granted to the soldiers for 


their services in the late war was laid off in Missouri ex- 
pressly for the soldiers who had enlisted in the Southern 
States, and would prefer living where they might have slaves. 
These too are now to leave the country of their choice arid 
the land obtained by fighting the battles of the nation. Is 
this just in a government of law, supported only by opinion? 
for it is not pretended that it is a government of force. In 
the most alarming state of our affairs at home and some of 
them have an ugly appearance public opinion alone has cor- 
rected and changed that which seemed to threaten disorder 
and ill-will into order and good-will, except once, when the 
military was called out in 1791. Let this be compared to the 
case of individuals and it will not be found to be more favor- 
able to the amendment than the real case just stated. A and 
B buy a tract of land large enough for both and for their 
children, and settle it, build houses and open plantations. 
When they have got it in good way to live comfortably, after 
ten or fifteen years, A thinks there is not too much for him 
and his children, and that they can, a long time hence, settle 
and cultivate the whole land. He then for the first time tells 
B that he has some property he does not like, and that he 
must get clear of it or move. B states the bargain. A an- 
swers that it is true he understood it so until of late, but that 
move he must or get clear of his property; for that property 
should not be in his way. The kind or quality of property 
cannot affect the question. 

A wise legislature will always consider the character, con- 
dition and feelings of those to be legislated for. In a gov- 
ernment and people like ours this is indispensable. The ques- 
tion now under debate demands this consideration. To> a part 
of the United States, and that part which supports the amend- 
ment, it cannot be important except as it is made so by the 
circumstances of the time. In all questions like the present, 
in the United States, the strong may yield without disgrace 
even in their own opinion; the weak cannot. Hence the 
propriety of not attempting to impose this new condition on 
the people of Missouri. Their numbers are few compared to 
those of the wdiole United States. Let the United States 
then abandon this new scheme, let their magnanimity and not 

. -, ,,^,-r ] ( I, | 


their power be fell by the pe >ple of Missouri. The atlein])t 
to govern too nnicli has produced every civil \v;ir tlint ever 
h;is been, and probably every one that ever may be. All 
governments, no matter what their form, want more power 
and more authority, and all the governed want less govern- 
ment, Great Britain lost the United States by attempting to 
govern too much and to introduce new principles of govern- 
ing. The United States would not submit to the attempt, 
and earnestly endeavored to persuade Great Britain to aban- 
don it, but in vain. The United States would not yield, and 
the result is known to the world. The battle is not always to 
the strong nor the race to the swift. What reason have we 
to expect that we can persuade Missouri to yield to our opin- 
ion that did not apply gs strongly to Great Britain? They are 
as near akin to us as we were to Great Britain. They are 
" flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone." But as to kin, when 
they fall out they do not make up sooner than other people. 
Great Britain attempted to govern ns on a new 7 principle, and 
we are attempting to establish a new principle for the people 
of Missouri on becoming a State. Great Britain attempted to 
collect a threepenny tax on the tea consumed in the then 
colonies, which were not represented in Parliament; and we to 
regulate what shall be property when Missouri becomes a 
State, when she has no vote in Congress. The great English 
principle of no tax without representation was violated in 
one case, and the great American principle, that people are 
able to govern themselves, will be violated if the amendment 
be adopted. Every free nation has had some principle in its 
government to which more importance was attached than to 
any other. The English principle was not to be taxed with- 
out the consent of the people given in Parliament; the Ameri- 
can principle is the right of the people to form their State 
governments in their own way, provided they be not incon- 
sistent with the Constitution of the United States. If the 
power in Congress to pass the restriction w T as expressly del. - 
ijated, and so clear that no one could doubt it, in the present 
circumstances of the country, it would still not be wi-e or 
prudent to do so; especially against the consent of those who 
live in the territory. Their consent would be more important 
to the nation than a restriction which would not make one 


slave less, unless indeed they might be starved in the old 

Let me not be understood as wishing or intending to create 
any alarm as to the intentions of the people of Missouri. T 
know nothing of them. But in examining the question, we 
ought not to forget our own history nor the character of those 
who settle on our frontiers. Your easy chimney-corner 
people, the timid and fearful, never move to them. They 
stay where there is no danger from an Indian or any wild 
beast. They have no desire to engage the panther or the 
bear. It is the bravest of the brave and the boldest of the 
bold who venture there. They go not to return. 

The settling of Kentucky and Tennessee during the war 
of the Revolution proves in the most satisfactory manner 
what they can do and will undergo, and that they will not 
return. The few people who first settled there had to con- 
tend, without aid from the States, against all the Indians bor- 
dering on the United States except the Chickasaw and Choc- 
taw nations, and maintained their stations. The northern 
tribes, unaided by the southern, attacked the United States 
since the adoption of the Constitution and defeated two 
armies, and it required a third to conquer them. The fron- 
tier people in the Revolutionary war, as well as in the late, 
astonished everybody by their great exploits. Vermont, 
though claimed in the Revolutionary war by New Hamp- 
shire and New York, was not inferior to any of the States in 
her exertions to support independence. 

The gentleman from Pennsylvania will pardon me for stat- 
ing that that State had had some experience of its government 
managing a few people who would not yield obedience to its 
authority, though settled within its limits. They were obliged 
to compromise. I mean the Wyoming settlers. Again, since 
this government was in operation, a few people settled on the 
Indian lands: they were ordered to move from them, but did 
not obey: the military was sent to burn their cabins. The 
commanding officer told them his business, and very hu- 
manely advised them to move what property they had out of 
them. This they did, and their cabins were burnt. They 
waited till the troops marched, and very soon after built new 
cabins on the same places and to the same chimneys. 

T'f-riii'i',!ir 1 ( I i 


These facts are stated to show that a contest with a people 
who believe themselves right and one with a government are 
very different thiiigs. It would have; been very gratifying to 
me to have been informed by some one of the gentlemen who 
support the amendment what is intended to be done it' it be 
adopted, and the people of .Missouri will not yield, but go 
on and form a State government (having the requisite number 
of inhabitants agreeably to the ordinance), as Tennessee did, 
and then apply for admission into the Union. Will she be 
admitted, as Tennessee was, on an equal footing with the 
original States, or will the application be rejected as the Brit- 
ish government did the petitions of the old Congress? 

If you do not admit her, and she will not return to the terri- 
torial government, will you declare the people rebels, as Great 
Britain did us, and then order them to be conquered for 
co 11 tending for the same rights that every State in the Union 
now enjoys? AVill you for this, order the father to march 
against son and brother against brother? God forbid! It 
would be a terrible sight to behold these near relations plung- 
ing the bayonet into each other for no other reason than be- 
cause the people of Missouri wish to be on equal footing 
with the people of Louisiana. When Territories they were 
equal. Those who remember the Revolution wdll not desire 
to see another civil war in our land. They know too well the 
wretched scenes it will produce. If you should declare them 
rebels and conquer them, will that attach them to the Union? 
No one can expect this. Then do not attempt to do that for 
them which was never done for others, and that which no 
State would consent for Congress to do for it. If the United 
States are to make conquests, do not let the first be at home. 
Nothing is to be got by American conquering American. Nor 
ought we to forget that we are not legislating for ourselves, 
and that the American character is not yielding when rig! it- 
are concerned. But why depart from the old way, which has 
kept us in quiet, peace and harmony, every one living under 
his ow r n vine and fig-tree and none to make him afraid? AVhy 
leave the road of experience, which has satisfied all and made 
all happy, to take this new way, of which we have no ex- 
perience? This way leads to universal emancipation, of which 
we have no experience. The Eastern and Middle States fur- 


nish none. For years before these States emancipated their 
slaves they had but few, and of them a part were sold to the 
South. We have no more experience or book-learning on this 
subject than the French Convention had which turned the 
slaves of Santo Domingo loose. Nor can we foresee the con- 
sequences which may result from this new motion clearer than 
the Convention did in their decree. 

A clause in the Declaration of Independence has been read 
declaring that " all men are created equal." Follow that 
sentiment, and does it not lead to universal emancipation? If 
it will justify putting an end to slavery in Missouri, will it 
not justify it in the old States? Suppose the plan followed 
and all the slaves turned loose, and the Union to continue, is 
it certain that the present Constitution would last long? The 
rich would in such circumstances want titles and hereditary 
distinctions, the negro food and raiment, and they would be as 
much or more degraded than in their present condition. The 
rich might hire these wretched people, and witli them attempt 
to change the government by trampling on the rights of those 
who have only property enough to live comfortably. Opin- 
ions have greatly changed in some of the States in a few years. 
The time has been when those now called slaveholding States 
were thought to lie the firm and steadfast friends of the 
people and of liberty. Then they were opposing an adminis- 
tration and a majority in Congress supported by a sedition law; 
then there was not a word heard, at least from one side, about 
tliose who actually did most toward changing the adminis- 
tration and the majority in Congress, and they were from 
slaveholding States. And now it would be curious to know 
how many members of Congress actually hold seats in con- 
sequence of their exertions at the time alluded to* Past ser- 
vices are always forgotten when new principles are to be in- 

It is a fact that the people who move from the non-slave- 
holding to slaveholding States, when they became slavehold- 
ers, by purchase or marriage, expect more labor from them 
than those do who are brought up among them. 

To the gentleman from Ehode Island (Mr. Bui-rill) I tender 
my hearty thanks for his liberal and true statement of the 
treatment of slaves in the Southern States. His observations 

MACON'S SFEF.cir. 109 

leave Lut little for me to add, which is this, that the slaves 
gained as much Ly independence as the five. The old ones 
are Letter taken care of than any poor in the world, and 
treated with decent respect Ly their white acquaintances. I 
-incerely wish that, he and the gentleman from Pennsylvania 
(Mr. Rolieris) would go home with me, or some other South- 
ern meniLer, and witness the meeting Letween slaves and 
owner and .see the glad faces and heart}' shaking of hands. 
This is well descrihed in General Moultrie's Memoirs of the 
Aiii'Ttcan Itcrnlti/ioii, in which he gives the account of his 
reception Ly his slaves the first time he went home after he 
was exchanged. lie was made prisoner at the surrender of 
( 'harleston. Could he (Air. Macon) have procured the Look in 
the city he intended to have read it to show the attachment 
of the slave to his owner. A fact shall Le stated.. An excel- 
1< nt, friend of mine he too, like the other characters which 
have Leen mentioned in the deLate, was a Virginian had Lus- 
iness in England which made it necessary that he should go to 
that country himself or send a trusty agent. He could not go 
conveniently, so he sent one of his slaves, who remained there 
ne;tr a year. Upon his return he was asked Ly his owner how 
he liked the country, and if he would have liked to stay there? 
He replied that to oLlige him he would have stayed; the 
country was the finest he ever saw; the land was worked as 
nice as a square in a garden; they had the finest horse- and 
carriages, and houses, and everything; Lut that the white ser- 
vants aLused his countrv. AVhat did thev sav? Thev said 

tJ t/ V V 

we owed them (the English) a heap of money, and would not 
pay; to which he added, their chief food was mutton; he saw 
very little Lacon there. The owner can make more free in 
conversation with his slave and Le more easy in his company 
than the rich man, where there is no slave, with the white 
hireling who drives his carriage. He has no expectation that. 
the slave will, for the free and easy conversation, expect to 
call him fellow-citizen or act improperly. 

Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have Leen 
mentioned Ly Senators in this deLate, and it has frequently 
Leen said that the two first had emancipated their slaves; 
from which an inference seems to Le drawn that the other 
might have done so: emancipation to these gentlemen seems 


to be quite an easy task. It is so when there are but very 
few slaves; and would be more easy did not the color every- 
where place the blacks in a degraded state. Where they enjoy 
the most freedom they are there degraded. The respectable 
whites do not permit them to associate with them or to be of 
their company when they have parties. But if it be so easy a 
task, how happens it that Virginia, which before the Revolu- 
tion endeavored to put an end to the African slave-trade, has 
not attempted to emancipate? It will not be pretended that 
the great men of other States were superior or greater lovers 
of liberty than her Randolph, the first President of the first 
Congress, her Washington, her Henry, her Jefferson, or her 
Nelson. None of these ever made the attempt, and their 
voices ought to convince every one that it is not an easy task 
in that State. And is it not wonderful, that if the Declara- 
tion of Independence gave authority to emancipate, the pa- 
triots who made it never proposed any plan to carry it into 
execution? This motion, whatever is pretended by its friends, 
must lead to it. And is it not equally wonderful that if the 
Constitution gives the authority, this is the first attempt ever 
made, under either, by the Federal Government to exercise 
it? For if under either the power is given, it will apply as 
well to States as to Territories. If either intended to give it, 
is it not still more wonderful that it is not given in direct 
terms? The gentleman would not then be put to the trouble 
of searching the Articles of Confederation, the Constitution 
and the laws for a sentence or a word to form a few doubts. 
If the words of the Declaration of Independence be taken as 
part of the Constitution (and that they are no part of it is as 
true as that they are no part of any other book), what will be 
the condition of the Southern country when this shall be car- 
ried into execution? Take the most favorable view which 
can be supposed, that no convulsion ensue, that nothing like 
massacre or war of extermination take place as in Santo Do- 
mingo, but that whites and blacks do not marry and produce 
mulatto States, will not the whites be compelled to move and 
leave their lands and houses and abandon the country to the 
blacks? And are vou willinc; to have black members of Con- 

v C5 

gross? But if the scenes of Santo Domingo should be re-acted, 
would not the tomahawk and the scalpiug-knife be mercy? 




Archibald D. Murphy was, in the generation immediately 
preceding our own, one of the most eminent characters in 
North Carolina. In many of the attributes of a statesman 
and philosopher he excelled all his contemporaries in the 
State, and, in every department of exertion to which his mind 
was applied, he had few equals or seconds. As an advocate 
at the bar, a judge on the bench, a reporter of the decisions 
of the highest court of justice, a legislator of comprehensive 
intelligence, enterprise and patriotism, a literary man of 
classic taste, attainments and style in composition, his fame is 
a source of just pride to his friends and his country. But for 
the paucity of our information, and the pressure of time and 
circumstances in the preparation of this sketch, it would be a 
labor of love to review his earlier years and trace the develop- 
ment and progress of his career in youth. Neither materials 
nor leisure for this topic, however, are now at our command. 

His father, Colonel Archibald Murphy, was a conspicuous 
citizen of the county of Caswell, and bore a part in the mili- 
tary service in the war of the Revolution, for which the 
citizens of that county, and especially of his vicinity, were 
greatly distinguished. The residence of his father was about 
two miles from Red House, in the congregation of Rev. M r. 
McAden, a Presbyterian minister, whose son, the late Dr. 
John McAden, married the daughter of Colonel Murphy, by 
whom he left descendants who still survive. At this place, 
some seven miles from Milton, Archibald DeBow Murphy, 
the subject of our memoir, was born, we believe, in the year 
1777. Of the other children of his parents there were two 
brothers and four sisters. His education, preparatory to 
admission into the infant University of the State at Chapel 
Hill, was received in the school of the Rev. Dr. David Cald- 
well, of Guilford county. Of the opportunities for educa- 


tion during his youth, Mr. Murphy himself informs us that 
before the University went into operation, in 1795, there were 
not more than three schools in the State in which the rudi- 
ments of a classical education could be acquired, and that the 
most prominent and useful of these was that of Dr. Caldwell; 
that the deficiency of books for literary instruction, except in 
the libraries of a few lawyers in the commercial towns, was 
still greater, and by way of illustration he relates that after 
completing his course of studies under Dr. Caldwell he spent 
nearly two years without finding any books to read except 
some old works on theological subjects, and that then chance 
threw in his way Voltaire's history of Charles XII. of Sweden, 
an odd volume of Roderick Random and an abridgment of 
Don Quixote. These constituted his whole stock of literary 
furniture when he entered college in 1796. When we re- 
member that he afterwards became capable of writing like 
Goldsmith, and with an ease and rapidity that Goldsmith could 
not have equaled, we can but recall these reminiscences of 
earlier times and encourage the diligent student by his ex- 
ample. With a mind delighted by a consciousness of ad- 
vancement in knowledge, and spirit of emulation, he profited 
greatly by three years of study in the University, and gradu- 
ated with the highest distinction in 1799. 

Such was the reputation acquired by him in this period that 
he was at once appointed Professor of Ancient Lan- 
guages in his alma mater a situation in which he continued 
the three succeeding years, and in which he matured that 
scholarship and taste for liberal studies which so much dis- 
tinguished him among his professional brethren and the edu- 
cated gentlemen of the State. His admission to the bar took 
place in 1802, after a course of professional reading so limited 
that the first judge to whom he applied (the signatures of two 
being then necessaiy for a license) refused to examine him; 
and (as he was accustomed to amuse his friends by relating) 
his success, only a few months later, in gaining admission to 
the practice in all the courts at once, was owing to the good 
fortune of bearing a letter from a friend, at the succeeding 
term of the Court of Conference, to one of the judges, a 
gentleman of proverbial benevolence and kindness, who con- 


ducted the examination, or interview, in his own chamber, 
and procured the signatures of his brethren without so much 
having been requested or expected so little strictness was ob- 
served towards the few applicants then entering the profession. 
But if he was allowed admission ex gratia, and without the 
requisite amount of learning, he was not long in supplying 
the deficiency. The powers of mind and eagerness in quest 
of knowledge which had been exhibited in his scholastic 
studies enabled him to make rapid progress in the law. His 
profrsHMiial studies were directed by William Duffy, Esq., 
an eminent lawyer, then residing in Hillsborough, to whom he 
was ever afterwards affectionately attached, and to whose 
nn mory he paid a grateful tribute among his sketches of 
public and professional men of North Carolina, in an ora- 
tion before the Literary Societies of the University in his lat- 
ter years. Mr. Murphy advanced rapidly to the first rank 
of the advocates of his day, and notwithstanding his turning 
aside, to the indulgence of his tastes for general literature, his 
enlightened labors and bright career in legislation, his pro- 
motion and service on the bench for two years, his decayed 
health and irregular attendance on the courts in his latter 
days, he maintained his position in the public estimation, even 
to the end of his life. When it is remembered that among 
his competitors at one time or another, for more than a 
quarter of a century, were Archibald Henderson, Cameron, 
Xorwood, Xash, Seawell, Yancey, Ruffin, Badger, Hawks, 
AInngum, and Morehead, it must be admitted that he was 
at a bar where the remark of Pinkney that " it was not a 
place where a false and fraudulent reputation for talents can 
be maintained," was fully justified. His practice for many 
years was not exceeded by that of any gentleman in the State, 
and his success corresponded with its extent. Both his ex- 
amination of witnesses and argument of causes before juries 
on the circuit could not be excelled in skillf illness. He had 
a Quaker-like plainness of aspect, a scrupulous cleanness and 
neatness in an equally plain attire, an habitual politeness 
and a subdued simplicity of manner which at once won his 
way to the hearts of juries, while no Greek dialectician had a 
more ready and refined ingenuity or was more fertile in every 


resource of forensic gladiatorsliip. ITis manner of speaking 
was never declamatory or in any sense boisterous, Imt in the 
style of earnest and emphatic conversation, so simple and ap- 
parently undesigning that lie seemed to the jury to l>e Imt 
interpreting their thoughts rather than enunciating his own, 
yet with a. correctness and often elegance of diction which no 
severity of criticism could improve. A pattern of politeness 
in all his intercourse, public and private, he could torture 
an unwilling or corrupt witness into a full exposure of his 
falsehood, and often had him impaled before he was aware of 
his design; no advocate had at his command more effective 
raillery, wit, and ridicule to mingle with his arguments. 

Many of his speeches in the nisi prius courts are still recol- 
lected by the profession and the people of middle age in the 
Fourth Circuit, and are spoken of with great admiration. 
One of the last of these in which, though he was then broken 
down by misfortune and enfeebled by disease, the fires of his 
genius and eloquence shone out in the lustre of his palmiest 
days, was made in the case of Burrow vs. Worth, in the Su- 
perior Court of Randolph in 1880 or 1831. It was an action 
for malicious prosecution against Dr. David Worth, a promi- 
nent physician, charging him with having falsely and ma- 
liciously caused the plaintiff, Burrow, to be presented for the 
murder of one Carter, of whose wife it was pretended he was 
the paramour. The plaintiff sought to show that not only 
was the accusation against him false, but that Worth was him- 
self accessory to the murder which he alleged had been com- 
mitted by the wife of Carter, by poison, which he (Worth) 
had furnished to her for that purpose, and he supported his 
complaint with a well-combined scheme of perjury and 
fraud which it required no ordinary skill and courage to 
baffle. His chief witness was a married woman who was 
found to be a member of a church, whose general character 
was vouched by her acquaintances to be good, and who de- 
posed to a conversation between Worth and the wife of 
Carter, in which it was agreed that for a base motive he 
would provide her with arsenic with which she was to poison 
her husband. It was further shown, and this was true, that 
Worth had attended the deceased as a physician at the time 

AiinmnAT/n D. MURPHY. 1 1 f> 

of the alleged conspiracy against his life, so that the opp<>r 
(unity, at least, \v;is not wanting. Such \\ r ;is (he aspect worn 
by the case when this witness was tendered to Mr. Murphy, 
the defendant's counsel, for cross-examination. Bv a. series 


of questions as to the time, place and circumstances, the fur- 
niture in the room in which the conversation was located, 
the relative positions of the parties and the witness, their pre- 
vious acquaintanceship, the course of the dialogue Itetween 
them, cl ct'fcrii, he involved her in such a maze of inconsist- 
encies, contradictions, and improbabilities as to expose the 
whole story as a base fabrication. The privilege of cross- 
examination is often a.bused, though there is a consistency in 
truth and incongruity in falsehood which, oven in the case 
of the least resolute witnesses, rarely allows such abuse to do 
much harm. All perceived, in the case in question, that it 
was one of the great tests of truth which cannot safely be dis- 
pensed with in judicial proceedings. The evidence, as usually 
happens in such cases, was quite voluminous; we have but 
delineated its most prominent feature. Having for his client 
a personal friend, threatened to be victimized by a foul con- 
spiracy for daring to perform one of the highest duties of a 
citizen, in bringing at least a supposed murderer to justice, 
Mr. Murphy in his defense, inspired by the theme, is said to 
have delivered a. speech which has never been surpassed in 
the forensic displays of the State. Analysis, denunciation, 
wit, ridicule, pathos, invective were in turn poured forth with 
such telling effect that not only was the defendant triumph- 
antly acquitted, but it would have been dangerous for the 
plaintiff had the question of his life or death been in the 
hands of the jury. The audience alternately convulsed with 
laughter, bathed in tears, or burning with indignation, were 
enraptured with his eloquence, and could not be restrained 
from demonstrations of applause. 

Mr. Murphy delighted in the equity practice of his profes- 
sion, and was accustomed to speak of this branch of our juris- 
prudence as the application of the rules of moral philosophy 
to the practical affairs of men. More of the pleadings in 
equity causes within the sphere and time of his practice will 
be found in his handwriting than in that of any other solici- 


tor, and, with two or three exceptions, among those named 
above, he was by far the most adept as an equity pleader. He 
wrote with facility and accuracy, even amid the crowd of 
courts and confusion of clients, and his neat and peculiar 
chirography, to those a little accustomed to it, was as legible 
as print. 

In the year 1818 he was elected by the General Assembly 
a judge of the Superior Courts, and rode the circuits in that 
capacity for two years, when he resigned and returned to the 
practice of his profession. Under a clause in the criminal 
law establishing the present Supreme Court system, passed 
that session, which authorized the Governor by special com- 
mission to detail a judge of the Superior Court to sit in stead 
of a judge of the Supreme Court, in causes where any one 
of their number had been of counsel or had an interest in the 
result, he was commissioned by the Governor for this service, 
and presided in the Supreme Court in several causes, in place 
of Judge Henderson, who had been recently elected from the 
bar. This provision of the law, being afterwards thought to 
be in conflict with that clause of the Constitution which re- 
quires the judges of the Supreme Court to be elected by the 
General Assembly, was repealed. In his office as a judge he 
well sustained his reputation for learning and ability, which 
had been so well established at the bar, and attracted the ad- 
miration of the profession and the people by the courtesy, 
patience, dignity and justice which characterized his admin- 
istration of the laws. Before taking leave of his career as a 
lawyer it is proper to mention his tribute to his profession in 
three volumes of reports of the Supreme Court of the State, 
embracing the decisions of cases of interest from 1804 to 1819. 

From 1812 to 1818, inclusive, Mr. Murphy was continually 
a Senator from the county of Orange in the General Assem- 
bly, and on this new theatre shone more conspicuously than 
he had done in his profession. He inaugurated a new era in 
the public policy of the State, and for many years exerted a 
greater influence in her counsels than any other citizen. 
Judging from the public documents which he has left behind 
him in advocacy of this policy, no man ever brought into our 
legislative halls a more ardent spirit of patriotism, a more 

AKCIIll'.ALD D. !\IURT11V. 117 

thorough survey and comprehension of her situation and 
wants, or proposed bolder or more intelligent measures for her 
relief. "Whether these measures failed from error in their 
conception or timidity in his contemporaries to meet and 
boldly sustain them, the historian must pronounce that his 
reports and other writings in regard to them are the noblest 
monuments of philosophic statesmanship to be found in our 
public archives since the days of the Revolution. From 1815 
to 1823, either as chairman of a committee in the Legislature 
or of the Board of Internal Improvement, he annually pre- 
pared a report on the public policy of the State in relation to 
her improvement in the means of transportation, and in 1819 
he published a memoir on improvements contemplated and the 
resources and finances of the State, dedicated to his friend 
John Branch, then her Governor; any one of which papers 
would have done honor to DeWitt Clinton or Calhoun, the 
champions of internal improvement in the State and Federal 
governments, respectively, during that period. Fully appre- 
ciating the condition of the world resulting from the general 
peace consequent on the battle of Waterloo and the overthrow 
of the first ISTapoleon (since which time there has been a 
greater advance in all the useful arts and diffusion of the 
comforts of life among mankind than in any five preceding 
centuries), he applied all the energies of his intrepid and well- 
furnished mind to the task of devising how 7 his native State 
should most profit in this universal calm, confer the greatest 
good on the greatest number of her people, and resume her 
proper rank in the Union of which she was a member. His 
solution of this important problem he seems to have summed 
up in three propositions, namely: first by improving her means 
of transportation, in deepening her inlets from the ocean, 
opening her rivers for navigation, connecting these rivers by 
canals, and constructing turnpike or macadamized roads, so 
as to concentrate all her trade at two or three points within 
her own limits; second, by building up commercial cities of 
her own at these points, with a view to commercial indepen- 
dence of other States, to the better regulation and control of 
her currency and exchanges, and to cherish and stimulate a 
just State pride; third, by a system of education commensu- 


rate with the State's necessities, embracing primary schools, 
academies for instruction in the higher branches, the Uni- 
versity by greatly enlarging its accommodations and course of 
instruction, and an asylum for the deaf and dumb. On this 
last subject of education he made a report to the General As- 
sembly in 1817, comprehending these several topics, from 
which, since our limits will not permit us to recur to it again, 
we make one or two brief extracts as exhibitions of his style, 
his public spirit and his noble benevolence. The University 
then was, from causes which he details, in a state of extreme 
depression. He says: "When the pride of the State is awak- 
ening and an honorable ambition is cherished for her glory, 
an appeal is made to the patriotism and generous feelings of 
the Legislature in favor of an institution which in all civil- 
ized nations has been regarded as the nursery of moral great- 
ness and the palladium of civil liberty. That people who 
cultivate the sciences and the arts with most success acquire 
a most enviable superiority over others. Learned men by 
their discussions and w r orks give a lasting splendor to national 
character; and such is the enthusiasm of man that there is not 
an individual, however humble in life his lot may be, who 
does not feel proud to belong to a country honored with great 
men and magnificent institutions. It is due to North Caro- 
lina, it is due to the great men who first proposed the founda- 
tion of the University, to foster it with parental fondness, and 
to inve to it an importance commensurate with the high des- 
tinies of the State." We may here remark that although 
much improvement lias been made in the interim, yet even 
after the lapse of forty-odd years the outline of a system of 
studies in the University, which he therein proposed, has not 
been filled up. Of the necessity of public instruction for 
poor children he says: " Such lias always been, and probably 
always will be, the allotment of human life, that the poor 
will form a large portion of every community; and it is the 
duty of those who manage the affairs of a State to extend 
relief to the unfortunate part of our species in every way in 
their power. Providence, in the impartial distribution of its 
favors, whilst it has denied to the poor many of the comforts 
of life, has generally bestowed upon them the blessing of in- 

i.!> n. .\iri;i i nv. 119 

telligent children. Poverty is the school of genius; it is a 
school in which the active powers of man an- developed and 
disciplined, and in which that moral courage i- acquired which 
enables, him to toil with dilliculties, privation- and want. 
I-'roin tliis school generally come forth those men who act the 
principal parts upon the theatre of life; men who impress a 
character upon the age in which they live. Bnt it is a school 
which if left to itself runs wild; vice in all its depraved forms 
grows np in it. The State should take this school under her 
special charge, and nurturing the genius which there grows in 
rich luxuriance, give to it an honorable and profitable direc- 
tion. Poor children arc the peculiar property of the State, 
and by proper cultivation they will constitute a fund of intel- 
lectual and moral worth which will greatly subserve the public 

His greatest and most persevering exertions, however, were 
devoted to the subject of internal improvement. His reports 
and memoir on that and kindred topics were examined with 
high commendation in the year 1822, in an article in the 
North American Review, then under the editorial charge of 
the Hon. Edward Everett. It must be borne in mind that 
in that day the modern resource of the railroad for transpor- 
tation at long distances had entered the contemplation of no 
one in Europe or America; sluices, canals and turnpike 
roads were the only improvement- deemed to be practical. 
To effect the--e in the most approved methods, Mr. Hamilton 
Fulton, an engineer of much reputation, was brought into the 
-ervice of the State from Kurope, at a salary of twelve hun- 
dred pounds >terling ($6,000) per annum, who made survey > 
of all the harbors and rivers, and of many routes for roads in 
all sections of the State. The main features of the plan of 
Mr. .Murphy, and to which he obtained the approbation of 
Mr. Enlton, after the improvement of inlets at Nag's IIr ; id 
(if practicable), Ocracoke, Beaufort^ Swan-borough, and Wil- 
mington, consisted in opening for batteau navigation the rivers 
Roanoke, Tar, Xeuso, Cape Fear, Yadkin, f'atawba, Broad. 
and sundry tributaries, and by canals to join the Roanoke and 
Tar or Pamlico, and Xeuse, so as to ship the. productions of 
the country watered by each of them from Beaufort; and to 


unite by similar means the Cape Fear with Lumber River, 
and at a more northerly point with the Yadkin, and the Yad- 
kin with the Catawba, so as to bring to the mouth of the Cape 
Fear the commerce of our whole watershed trending from the 
Blue Ridge, except that of Broad River (which was to be 
opened into South Carolina), and thus making commercial 
marts of Fayetteville and Wilmington. Places and sections 
more remote from these waters were to be supplied by roads. 
The boldness and comprehensiveness of this plan, providing, 
as it proposed to do, for the whole State, with the only facili- 
ties then known to science, must be seen by all. Whether 
it was practicable, and if so, at what cost, was a question for 
engineers. It was in all probability practicable at a cost not 
exceeding the amount which up to this time the State has 
invested in railroads, and if accomplished it would evidently 
have been a great advance beyond the cart and wagon, then 
the only means of transportation in use. Its very compre- 
hensiveness, however, was probably the reason of its failure. 
To conciliate favor, inadequate appropriations for various 
parts of it in all sections of the State were made at once, and 
work was commenced under incompetent supervision, which 
resulted in failure. After a few years' trial the whole was 
abandoned, and the engineer, whose salary had at no time 
been less than twice that of the Governor of the State, wa< 
discharged. Its miscarriage is the less to be regretted since 
the iron rail and steam car, then undeveloped in the womb 
of time, would have superseded, if not supplanted, the most 
perfect works which it contemplated, so far as regards inland 
transportation at least. But the fame of its author as a pa- 
triot, statesman and sage should not be dimmed by mistakes 
or failures in the details of its execution or the advances made 
in the science of engineering in a subsequent age. The ex- 
penditures upon it from the State treasury, including the 
salaries of the principal engineer and assistants, did not ex- 
ceed $50,000, and this was repaid tenfold in the topographi- 
cal and statistical information which it elicited and caused to 
be published, and in the loyal and true North Carolina pa- 
triotism aroused by Mr. Murphy's discussions of the subject 
in the hearts of her people. We have recurred to this matter 

ARc'UIIlAU) I). MURPHY. 121 

of expenditure with some care, for the reason that before the 
subject of internal improvement became popular in the State, 
it was the custom of its opponents to hold up Mr. Murphy's 
scheme of improvements as a kind of South Sea Bubble, from 
which the treasury had been well-nigh rendered bankrupt. 

While immersed in endeavors to press forward those projects 
of improvement, and at the same time assiduously laboring 
in his profession, either as a judge on the bench or a lawyer 
at the bar, NT. Murphy conceived the purple of writing the 
history of his native State. He had studied her interests by 
every light of political economy and every record of the past 
within his reach, was personally acquainted with nearly 
every citizen of intelligence, and his talents, public spirit and 
engaging manners had rendered him a favorite among the 
surviving officers and soldiers of the Revolution. This latter 
circumstance had made him acquainted with the traditions of 
that period, and the great injustice by omission and commis- 
sion which the State had suffered at the hands of the writers of 
history. He seems to have undertaken this task with the 
same motives of zealous patriotism which had inspired his 
legislative action. In a letter to General Joseph Graham, of 
Lincoln, dated July 20, 1821, he says: 

" Your letter to Colonel Conner first suggested to me the 
plan of a work which I will execute if I live. It is a work 
on the history, soil, climate, legislation, civil institutions, lit- 
erature, etc., of this State. Soon after reading your letter I 
turned my attention to the subject in the few hours which I 
ctnild snatch from business, and was surprised to find what 
aliundant materials could, with care and diligence, be col- 
lected materials which if well disposed would furnish matter 
for one of the most interesting works that has been published 
in this country. "We want such a work. We neither know 
(Mil-selves nor are we known to others. Such a work, well exe- 
cuted, would add very much to our standing in the Union, 
and make our State respectable in our own eyes. Amidst the 
cares and anxieties which surround me, I cannot cherish a 
hope that I could do more than merely guide the labors of 
some man who would take up the work after me and prose- 
cute it to perfection. I love ISTorth Carolina, and love her 


more because so much injustice lias been done to her. We 
want pride. We want independence. We want magna- 
nimity. Knowing' nothing of ourselves, we have nothing in 
our history to which we can turn with conscious pride. We 
know nothing of our State and care nothing about it. We 
want some great stimulus to put us all in motion, and induce 
us to waive little jealousies, and combine in one general march 
to one great purpose." 

His habits of labor, his readiness as a writer, and addiction 
to literary exercise as a pleasure, the philosophical cast of his 
mind, and above all, his sentiment of devotion to North Caro- 
lina, eminently fitted him for this enterprise; and he seems to 
have entered upon it with his characteristc industry and zeal, 
lie gathered materials for the work from a great variety of 
sources, public and private, within and without the State. 
At his instance the Legislature, through the intervention of 
Mr. Gallatin, then the Minister of the United States in Great 
Britain, caused the office of the Board of Trade and Planta- 
tions and the State Paper Office in London to be explored, 
and an index of the documents therein, pertaining to our co- 
lonial history, to be furnished; literary men in other States, 
including Mr. Madison and Mr. Jefferson, readily seconded 
his efforts by supplying information sought of them; the 
families of deceased public men in the State, including those 
of Governor Burke, Governor Samuel Johnston, and Mr. 
Hooper, opened all their papers to his inspection; and many 
officers of the Revolution, then living, among whom were 
Colonel William Polk, General Lenoir, Major Donoho, of 
Caswell, General Graham, and divers others, undertook to 
contribute to him their personal reminiscences of the war. 
The memoranda of the gentleman last named, prepared in 
accordance with a request of Mr. Murphy, were given to the 
public in the pages of our University Magazine in the year 
1856. Upon application of Mr. Murphy, by memorial, the 
General Assembly at the session of 1826 granted him au- 
thority to raise by lottery a sufficient sum for the publication 
of his contemplated history, the plan of which he set forth 
in detail. We regret that we have not at hand a copy of this 
memorial to lay before our readers the outline of the work 



as then prepared. It was more voluminous, and embraced 
a greater variety of topics than would have been preferred 
l>v the generality of readers, lut its very magnitude showed 
the comprehension of his genius and the intrepidity of his 
mind. Beyond one or two chapters on the Indian tribes of 
the State, he appears to have done but little towards its com- 
position, though his collection of materials, directing attention 
to the subject, and rescuing from oblivion niueli that was 
passing away, rendered the undertaking itself a great public 
benefit. Decayed health and a ruined fortune arrested him 
in mid-career, put a stop to his favorite enterprise, and clouded. 
with poverty and adversity the evening of his days. 

Among his public employments may be classed his mission 
to Tennessee as the representative of the University in IS^L'. 
The chief endowments of the University from the State con- 
sisted in escheats, or the estates of persons dying without heirs 
or next of kin, which passed to the State by a prerogative of 
sovereignty. In her deed of cession to the United States of 
her Tennessee territory, North Carolina had reserved the right 
to satisfy the claims of her citizens for military service in the 
army of the Revolution, by grants of land in the ceded terri- 
tory, and where her soldiers had died leaving no heirs, or none 
who appeared and made claim within a limited period, then- 
titles were considered as escheats, and vested by law in the 
Board of Trustees, and warrants were issued by the authorities 
of Xorth Carolina, in the names of such soldiers for the benefit 
of the institution. The State of Tennessee took exception to 
these proceedings of ISTorth Carolina, alleging that they were 
in conflict with the provisions of the deed of cession, and. <ince 
her admission into the Union, with her sovereign rights as an 
independent State. The controversy became a serious one, 
and Mr. Murphy was sent to confer with the Legislature of 
Tennessee respecting it, in the year 1S22. He was received 
with the courtesy due to his high character and the important 
interest he represented, and was heard upon the subject at the 
bar of the Legislature on two successive days. An adjn-t 
ment of the dispute succeeded, by which a portion of the 
claims of the University were yielded for the benefit of a simi- 
lar institution at Xashville, and the residue were confirmed. 


From the sales of the lands thus acquired have arisen a large 
portion of the investment in bank stocks, on which this insti- 
tution is at present maintained. 

As a literary character Mr. Murphy deserves to be classed 
among the first men of the State; and among those who, like 
himself, devoted their time laboriously to professional and 
public employments, he has had few superiors in literature 
in the nation. In the Latin, Greek, and French languages 
he attained such proficiency that till the close of his life he 
read the standard authors with pleasure and for amusement, 
and with the best of the English classics few were more fa- 
miliar. To this, though self-taught, he added no inconsider- 
able attainments in science. As an epistolary writer he had 
no equal among his contemporaries, and in all his compositions 
there was an ease, simplicity, and at the same time an ele- 
gance of expression which showed him to be master of his 
native tongue. When it is known that a large part of his 
life was passed in taverns, on the circuit, where he was im- 
mersed in business and when not so immersed, such was his 
proverbial urbanity and kindliness of nature that his rooms 
were the resort of all seeking advice and consultation, as well 
as of his circle of friends in every county, attracted by the 
charms of his conversation his acquirements are a marvel to 
those less studious or less imbued with a true love of letters. 
His oration before the two Literary Societies of the University, 
in 1827, is a fair exponent of his style of writing, and also in- 
dicates his favorite studies, the subjects of his admiration, his 
enthusiastic American sentiment, his characteristic benevol- 
ence and kindness to\vards young men, and that unaffected 
modesty which was so remarkable a virtue in his character. 
Yet it is tinged with a vein of sadness, as if life for him was 
approaching its twilight and he was walking among the graves 
of the dead, some of them his comrades, whom he was soon to 
follow. Notwithstanding it was the first in the series of these 
discourses before the Societies, it has never been surpassed in 
appropriateness and interest by those of any of his successors, 
though among them have been many of the im>-t distinguished 
scholars in the State. Its commendation by Chief Justice 
Marshall, in a letter to the author, published with the second 

r>. MURPIIV. 125 

edition, stamps its portraits of public characters with his appro- 
liation and renders it historical. 

Tn the possession of genius in an eminent degree he united 
some of its infirmities. A sanguine temper, a daring confi- 
dence in results, a reliance on the apparent prosperity of the 
times, involved him in pecuniary obligations, many of them, 
perhaps, of a speculative character, which eventuated in dis- 
aster and swept away his estate. A little later came an attack 
of chronic rheumatism, from which he suffered much, and 
was often incapacitated for business during the last half-dozen 
years of his life. But during this season of adversity he strug- 
gled with a brave heart against the storms of fate. With a 
pallid cheek and disabled limbs he made his appearance in the 
courts, where, as we have seen, his gifted mind occasionally 
shone out in all its meridian splendor; and when this was not 
practicable, the hours of pain and misfortune were beguiled, if 
not solaced, by the pursuit of those noble studies which had 
been the delight of his leisure in the days of his prosperity. 

He died in llill-borough, then his place of residence, on 
February 3, 1832, and is interred in the graveyard of the 
town, a few feet from the door of the Presbyterian church, 
and nearly in front of it. ISTo monument marks his resting- 
place. His sons, Dr. V. Moreau Murphy, of Macon, Missis- 
sippi, and Lieutenant P. U. Murphy, of the navy of the United 
States, are his only surviving children. 

The work and worth and greatness of Murphy have never 
been duly appreciated even in his own State; and yet, when 
our history is written, if greatness is measured by the public 
benefit it confers, perhaps Macon, Murphy, and Yance will 
stand together as the three greatest men the State has yet 

In common-sense statecraft, in the choice and application 
of principles to existing conditions, and in the prophetic 
knowledge of the fruit they would bring forth after their kind, 
Macon was greatest. In scholarship and breadth of culture, 


combined with originality to conceive the most far-reaching 
policies of public welfare, Murphy was greatest. In the 
knowledge of men, in his boundless wealth of human sym- 
pathy, as the advocate and champion of the people's rights, 
Vance was greatest. But Graham had a far greater knowl- 
edge and grasp of the details of public business than any of 
them; and Badger, in his ability to rapidly acquire and assimi- 
late law and learning, easily outstripped them all. 

The sensibilities of Murphy were too refined for what is 
called success in practical politics. His love and enthusiasm 
for the public weal were so great that he forgot himself- 
but let us never forget him. 

If Murphy had lived to write, as he intended, the history 
of North Carolina, he would have made all the world know 
and acknowledge that some of her people began the Revolu- 
tion against British tyranny four years before the battle of 
Lexington. Perhaps he would have made it too plain for cavil 
that more than a year before Jefferson penned his immortal 
document, the spirit that resisted Tryon had formed a govern- 
ment at Charlotte independent of British rule, and that, in the 
strongest probability, the authors of that government had 
prepared the way for it by a declaration of independence. 

Leavened by that spirit, the people of the whole State, 
through their convention at Halifax, on May 12, 1776, pro- 
posed, and on May 22 adopted, a resolution providing- for 
" declaring independence ' : in concurrence with the u other 
colonies" -the first step taken in that direction by any of the 

Perhaps his clear voice could have been heard above the 
conflicting jargon about the Regulators' War. The thread- 
bare statement that the spirit of these people was so thor- 
oughly crushed by Tryoii's dress-parade campaign that they 
all took sides with the British in the Revolutionary war might 
have been thrashed a little thinner. Perhaps he would have 

i.n n. MTUI-IIY. 127 

found at King's Mountain some of the fifteen hundred fami- 
lies who fled west after the battle of Alamanee. 

Mrs. E. E. Moflitt of tliis city (a granddaughter of Judge 
Murphy's sister, Mrs. John Daniel) is my authority for the 
statement that Peter S. Ney whom some believe to have 
been none other than the great .Marshal Ney was Murphy's 
amanuensis. It was a singular fate -\vhieh drew these two 
peculiar men of genius together. 

There is grim humor in his pathetic attempt to enkindle 
a love of history and education in this State by appealing to 
the love of gain. His other scheme, internal improvements, 
was equally chimerical; not because it lacked intrinsic merit, 
but because the times and people had changed. lie had not: 
calculated on the soporific effect of indirect taxes upon the 
unpreferred States. It was too early for any but a prophet 
to fully see that the States had dug the graves of their ultimate 
autonomy by adopting a Constitution which forbade them " to 
emit bills of credit ' a power of which they never stood in 
dire need until the General Government had monopolized all 
control of banking and currency. 

No State, since the Union was formed, has, without Fed- 
eral aid, direct or indirect, made any material progress in de- 
veloping its resource.-! 



The Literary Societies of this institution have resolved that 
an address be delivered before them annually by some one of 
their members. This resolution, if carried into effect in the 
spirit in which it has been adopted, will be creditable to the 
Societies and favorable to the general literature of the State. 
It is now more than thirty years since these Societies were 
established, and all the alumni of this University have been 
members of one or the other of them. Upon these alumni, 
and upon others who shall go forth from this University, our 
hopes must chiefly rest for improvement in our literary char- 
acter; and their zeal for such improvement cannot fail to be 
excited by being annually called together, and one of them 
selected to deliver a public discourse upon the progress and 
state of our literature, or some subject connected therewith. 
The Societies have conferred 011 me an unmerited honor by 
appointing me to deliver the first of these discourses. I ac- 
cepted the appointment with pride, as it was an evidence of 
their esteem; yet with humility, from a conviction of my in- 
ability to meet public expectation an inability of which I am 
conscious at all times, but particularly so after a painful and 
tedious illness. 

Little that is interesting in the history of literature can be 
expected in the infancy of a colony planted on a continent 
three thousand miles distant from the mother-country, in the 
midst of a wilderness and surrounded by savages. Under such 
circumstances civilization declines, and manners and language 
degenerate. When the first patent was granted to Sir Walter 
Raleigh, in 1584, the English language had received consider- 
able improvement. Spenser had published his Faerie Queene, 
Shakespeare his Plays, Sir Philip Sidney his Arcadia, Ivimlles 
his General History of the Turks, and our theology had been 
enriched by the eloquent writings of Hooker. This improve- 


incut, was not confined to the learned; it had already extended 
itself to the common people, partienlarly in the town.- and 
villages, and the language of the first colonists no donlit par- 
took of tins improvement. Hut these colonists were all ad- 
venturers; they joined in Sir Walter Raleigh's expedition only 
for the purpose of making fortunes, and their chief hope \va- 
that they would quickly find gold in abundance and return 
home to enjoy their wealth. This delusive hope continued 
for many years to beguile adventurers; who, not finding the 
treasure they came in (picst of, became idle and profligate, 
and abandoned a country in which they had met with nothing 
but disappointment. Sir Walter Raleigh, after expending a 
large part of his estate in attempts to settle a colony, assigned 
to Thomas Smith, of London, and his associates, the privilege 
of trading to Virginia and of continuing the colony. Under 
the advice of Raleigh he directed his efforts to the waters of 
the Chesapeake, and there caused to he planted a colony which 
became permanent, and from which Virginia and Carolina 
were peopled. A new charter was granted to Thomas Smith 
and his associates in 1000, and enlarged in 1609. Their 
company continued with many vicissitudes of fortune until 
the year 1G2G, when it was dissolved. The history of the 
colony to the time of this dissolution was written by John 
Smith and also by Stith. They were contemporary with 
Lord Clarendon, who wrote the Jlixlor// of ll/c (lr<'/il Rebellion 
in England. Their style and manner of writing, and the 
public pa pel's published by the President and Council of the 
Colony, during this period, evidence great improvement in 
our language. The chaos in which it lav in the earlv part of 


the reign of Elizabeth gradually gave way to the order and 
method which good sense introduced into every pursuit; the 
pedantry and conceits which disfigured our literature in the 
rei-ii of .Iame< I. yielded to the inllnence of good taste. Sir 
Walter Raleigh published hi< l/islor// of fJic World, Lord 
Bacon his historical and philosophical works and moral essays, 
and our poetry was adorned by the writings of Milton, Dry- 
den, Butler, and Otway. Shortly afterward- came Sir Wil- 
liam Temple, Archbishop Tillotson and others, who gave" fa- 
cility and grace to composition. The-e were new beauties and 


pleased the nation more as they gave to style the charm of 
polished conversation. 

Whilst the literary taste of the nation was thus improving, 
religious intolerance drove from England a great number of 
Quakers, Presbyterians and other sectarians, who sought 
refuge in the Virginia colony. They there soon met with the 
same persecution which had driven them from their native 
country. They were compelled to leave the colony; and 
Providence directing their course through the wilderness, they 
settled near Pasquotaiik and Perquimans, and formed the 
germ of the Carolina colo-ny. Many of them were Quakers, 
and their descendants continue to occupy that district of 
country to this day. 

In the year 1663, Charles II. granted the soil and seigniory 
of Carolina to eight Lords Proprietors, who, to encourage emi- 
gration, held out favorable terms. They promised to' adven- 
turers gratuities in land according to the number of their re- 
spective families, and the most perfect freedom in the exer- 
cise of religion. A civil government was established purely 
representative; a circumstance to which may be attributed, in 
a great degree, the republican feelings and opinions which 
soon characterized the colony, and which led to the plan of 
civil polity under which we now live. When the Lords 
Proprietors discovered that the colony was likely to become 
numerous and powerful they endeavored to restrain the civil 
and religious liberty which they had promised to emigrants: 
they established a new form of government, declaring their 
object to be " to make the government of the colony agree as 
nearly as possible with the monarchy of which it was a part, 
and to avoid erecting a numerous democracy." This plan of 
government was the joint work of Lord Ashley and the cele- 
brated John Locke; and its chief aim was to appoint orders 
of nobility, establish a powerful aristocracy and check the 
progress of republican opinions and manners. A more ri- 
diculous plan for the government of the colony could not 
have been devised. The people were accustomed to equality 
and self-government; a rank of nobility was odious to them, 
and they disregarded laws which they had not been consulted 
in making. The prosperity of the colony declined, public 


morals relaxed, the laws lost their energy, a general spirit of 
discontent grew up and ripened into rebellion; the Gover 
nors became corrupt, and the people idle and vicious. The 
attempt to give effect to the new plan of government en- 
tirely failed, and the Lords Proprietors abolished it as un- 
suited to the condition of the colony. Two factions then 
arose; one that wished to establish a high-toned prerogative 
government; the other consisted of High-churchmen, who 
gained the ascendency, and by their violence brought the 
government into contempt. Their object was to deprive all 
dissenters of the right of suffrage, to curtail their civil rights, 
and render their situation so oppressive as to compel them to 
leave the colony. A party of French Huguenots had emi- 
grated to the colony to enjoy that liberty of conscience and of 
worship which was denied to them in their native country. 
These people, entitled by their sufferings no less than by their 
Protestantism to the friendship and hospitality of the colonists, 
were treated with a cruelty that disgraced the High-church 
party. Being aliens, they were incapable of holding lands 
until they were naturalized; and this party having the ascen- 
dency in the Assembly, not only refused to naturalize them, 
but declared their marriages by ministers not ordained by 
Episcopal Bishops illegal and their children illegitimate. The 
progress of this violent, persecuting spirit was checked by ihc 
wise and conciliating measures adopted by Governor Archdale. 
He assumed the government of the colony in 1695; he was a 
Quaker, and possessed in an eminent degree the philanthropy 
and command of temper for which this sect has been dis- 
tinguished. He was one of the Proprietors of the province, 
and by the mere force of his character overawed the turbulent 
and restored good order. To this excellent man our ances- 
tors are indebted for that tolerant provision in their militia 
law which we still retain as part of our code, for granting 
exemption to men who were restrained by religious principles 
from bearing arms. 

The religious intolerance of the High-church party was ex- 
erted with new energy after the departure of Governor Arch- 
dale from the province. This party passed laws, which the 
Lords Proprietors ratified, to establish the Church of Eng- 


land and to disable dissenters from being members of the 
Assembly. This was in direct violation of the chartered 
rights of the colonists. The dissenters remonstrated to the 
House of Lords; and Queen z\nne, upon the advice of that 
body, caused these laws to be repealed. But the High-church 
party, steady to their purpose, varied their mode of attack; 
the spirit of intolerance grew with the growth of the province; 
emigrations from the Virginia colony and the patronage of the 
Lords Proprietors gave to this party a decided majority in 
the Assembly; they levied a tax on each precinct for the sup- 
port of a minister, and built churches. Protestant dissenters 
were only permitted to worship in public, and there to be 
subject to the rules and restrictions contained in the several 
acts of Parliament. Quakers were permitted to affirm instead 
of swearing ; but they could not hold an office of profit or trust, 
serve as jurors, or give evidence by affirmation in any criminal 
case. This contest between the High-church party and the 
dissenters produced an hostility of feeling which time has 
softened, but which the lapse of more than a century has been 
insufficient to allay. This contest, however, promoted free- 
dom of thought and inquiry among the people; it sharpened 
their understandings, and in a great degree supplied the place 
of books for instruction. At that time there were few books 
in the colony: the library of a common man consisted of a 
Bible and a spelling-book; the lawyers had a few books on 
law, and the ministers a few on theological subjects, and some- 
times a few of the Greek and Roman classics: for they, par- 
ticularly the Presbyterian ministers, were generally school- 
masters and from them the poor young men of the colony, 
who wished to preach the gospel or plead law, received their 
1 nimble education. The turbulent spirit of the colonists, 
their leaning towards republicanism and sectarianism, had in- 
duced the Lords Proprietors to forbid the establishment of 
printing presses in the colony; and Sir William Berkeley, who 
had the superintendence of this colony in 1661, gave thanks 
to heaven that there was not a printing office in any of the 
Southern provinces. 

What improvement in literature could be expected among 
a people who were thus distracted by faction, destitute *of 


books, and denied i IK- use of the press? Notwithstanding nil 
these discouragements and disadvantages, however, the litera- 
ture of the colony evidently advanced. The public papers 
of that period are written in a conspicuous, nervous style, cor- 
responding in force of expreion, purity of language and per- 
-picuity of arrangement, with similar writings in the reign- 
of Charles II., King \\'illiain, and Queen Anne. The intel- 
ligence of the common people and the ability and learn 
ing of tlie men who managed the affairs of the colony in that 
period are matters of surprise and astonishment to any one 
acquainted with the disadvantages under which the colony 
labored. The Assembly and the courts of justice sat in private 
houses; the acts passed by the Assembly were not printed: they 
were read aloud to the pecple at the first court after they were 
passed; they were in force for only two years, and every bien- 
nial Assembly was under the necessity of reenacting all that 
were thought useful. There was no printing press in the 
colony before the year 1746, at which time the condition of 
the statute-book required a revisal, and the public interest 
called aloud for the printing of it. The learning and litera- 
ture of the colony were confined to the lawyers and ministers 
of the gospel, most of whom were educated in England; and 
it was owing to this circumstance chiefly that the literature of 
the colony advanced so steadily with that of the mother- 

The legislation of the colony began to assume form and 
system in the reign of Queen Anne; and in the year after 
her death, 1715, the Assembly passed sixty-six acts, most of 
which had been frequently reenacted before. Many of tho-e 
acts remain in force to this day, and are monuments of the 
political wisdom and legal learning of that time. In style 
and composition they are equal to any part of our statute-book; 
they are the first statutes of the colony that have come down 
to our time. 

In the year 1729 the Lords Proprietors, with the exception 
of Lord Granville, surrendered to the Crown their right to 
the soil and seigniory of North Carolina; and from that time 
the population and prosperity of the colony rapidly increased. 
But in a few years the great contest commenced between the 


prerogative of the Crown and the liberty of the colonial sub- 
ject, which contest eventually terminated in the American 
Revolution. This contest gradually introduced into North 
Carolina, and into all the British colonies which took part 
in it, a style in composition which distinguishes this period 
from all others in English or American literature: a style 
founded upon and expressive of exalted feeling. Education 
embellished it and gave to it new beauties; but its force and 
impressive character were perceptible in the writings and 
speeches of ordinary men. What age or nation ever produced 
compositions superior to the addresses of the Continental 
Congress? When or where shall we find a parallel to the 
correspondence of General Washington and the general offi- 
cers of the American army? The style of these addresses 
and of the correspondence is the style of high thought and 
of lofty, yet chastened feeling, and reminds the reader of the 
finest specimens of composition in Tacitus, and of the corre- 
spondence of Cicero and his friends after the death of 

There is something in the style and sentiment of the writ- 
ings of this period which gives to them a magic charm, and 
seems to consecrate the subjects on which it is employed a 
something connected with the finest perceptions of our nature. 
The reader is every moment conscious of it, yet knows not 
how to explain it. The high moral feeling and virtuous sym- 
pathy which characterized the American Revolution have 
given to it a hallowedncss of character. It is fortunate for 
us that Chief Justice Marshall has written 'the history of this 
Revolution. Whatever may be the defects of this work, the 
history of our Revolution will never be so well written again : 
no work on that subject so well calculated to produce an useful 
effect upon its readers will ever appear. Marshall was a 
soldier of the Revolution, and possessed the finest genius; he 
was the personal friend of the Commander-in-chief ; partook of 
all the feelings of the officers of the army; and he has trans- 
fused into his work that exalted sentiment which animated 
his compatriots in arms. This sentiment is strongly portrayed 
in the writings of the Marquis de Chastellux and Count 
Rochambeau, two French general officers in the American 

r's Amti.'Kss. 1 ; >" 

-ci-vice, and in the correspondence of the Commander-in-chief 
and the American general officers. But it can never be em- 
bodied into an historical w T ork by a man who did not feel it 
in all its force in the American camp. Literary elegance 
disappears before such moral beauty. There is no historical 
work in any language that can be read with so much advan- 
tage, such moral effect, by American youth, as Marshall's Life 
of George Washington. They should read it with diligence, 
and read it often. They will never rise from the perusal of 
it without feeling fresh incentives both to public and private 

The progress of the style which marked the period of the 
American Revolution may be traced in North Carolina from 
the administration of Governor Dobbs. It had become the 
common style of the leading men of the colony before the 
meeting of the Continental Congress in 1774. The corre- 
spondence and public papers of Samuel Johnston and Joseph 
Hewes, of Edenton; of William Hooper and Archibald Mac- 
lame, of Wilmington; of Richard Caswell, of Kinston; of 
Thomas Burke, of Hillsborough : of Francis and Abner Nash 
of New Bern, upon the great subjects which then engrossed 
the public attention, do honor to the literature of North Caro- 
lina at that time. They wrote upon matters of business busi- 
ness which concerned the welfare of the nation; they wrote 
as they felt; and their compositions, coming warm from the 
heart, are free from affectation or pedantry, and equally free 
from that prolixity which is the vice of modern composition. 

When these men disappeared, our literature, in a great 
degree, disappeared with then;. The war had exhausted the 
resources of the State and ruined the fortunes of inanv indi- 
viduals; we had no schools for the education of our youth; 
few of our citizens were able to send their sons to the Northern 
colleges or to Europe to be educated. Two individuals, who 
received their education during the war, w^ere destined to keep 
alive the remnant of our literature and prepare the public 
mind for the establishment of this Fniver-ity. These were 
William R. Davie and Alfred Moore. Each of them had en- 
deared himself to his country by taking an active part in the 
latter scenes of the war; and when public order was restored 


and the courts of justice were opened they appeared at the 
bar, where they quickly rose to eminence, and for many years 
shone like meteors in North Carolina. They adorned the 
courts in which they practiced, gave energy to the laws, and 
dignity to the administration of justice. Their genius was 
different and so was their eloquence. Davie took Lord 
Bolingbroke for his model, and Moore, Dean Swift; and 
each applied himself with so much diligence to the study 
of his model that literary men could easily recognize in the 
eloquence of Davie the lofty, flowing style of Bolingbroke; 
and in that of Moore, the plainness and precision of Swift 
-they roused the ambition of parents and their sons; they 
excited emulation among ingenuous youth; they depicted in 
glowing colors the necessity of establishing a public school 
or university in which the young men of the State could 
be educated. The General Assembly resolved to found an 
university. I was present in the House of Commons when 
Davie addressed that body upon the bill granting a loan of 
money to the trustees for erecting the buildings of this 
University; and although more than thirty years have since 
elapsed, I have the most vivid recollections of the great- 
ness of his manner and the power of his eloquence upon 
that occasion. In the House of Commons he had no rival, 
and upon all great questions which came before that body 
his eloquence was irresistible. The genius and intellectual 
habits of Moore fitted him for the bar rather than a de- 
liberative assembly. Public opinion was divided upon the 
question whether he or Davie excelled at the bar. Moore 
was a small man, neat in his dress and graceful in his manners; 
his voice was clear and sonorous, his perceptions quick, and 
his judgment almost intuitive; his style was chaste and his 
manner of speaking animated. Having adopted Swift for his 
model, his language was always plain. The clearness and 
energy of his mind enabled him, almost without an effort, to 
disentangle the most intricate subject and expose it in all its 
parts to the simplest understanding. He spoke with ease and 
with force, enlivened his discourses with flashes of wit, and 
where the subject required it, with all the bitterness of sar- 
casm. His speeches were short and impressive: when he sat 

Ml IM'llv's ADDK'F.SS. 137 

down every one thought In- IKK! said everything rli;it lie ought 
to liavo said. Davit- was in his person lall and elegant, 
graceful and commanding in hi.- iiiaiint rs; his voice was mel- 
low and adapted to th expre. ion of every passion; his mind 
was comprehensive, yet -dow in its operations, when compared 
with hi- great rival. Mi- -tyle was magnificent and flowing, 
and lie had a greatness of manner in pnhlic speaking which 
Hiited his style and gave to his speeches ;m imposing effect, 
lie was a laborious student, arranged his discourses with care, 
and. where the subject suited his genius, poured forth a torrent 
of eloquence that astonished and enraptured his audience. 
They looked upon him with delight, listened to his long, har- 
monious periods, caught his emotions, and indulged that 
ecstasy of feeling which fine speaking and powerful eloquence 
alone can produce. lie is certainly to be ranked among the 
first orators, and his rival, Moore, among the first advocates, 
which the American nation has produced. 

Whilst these two men were in the zenith of their glory, an- 
other man arose at the bar in North Carolina who surpassed 
them both in profoundness of legal learning, and, on many 
occasions, successfully contended with them for the palm of 
forensic eloquence. This was the late John Haywood. He 
had few advantages from nature; his person was indifferent, 
his voice harsh, his manners uncouth, his education limited. 
He was a stranger to the graces, and had few of the accom- 
plishments of an orator. But he had a powerful and intrepid 
mind, which lie cultivated by the most laborious study. The 
fame of Da vie and Moore inspired his ambition, and he was 
tortured by a desire of entering the lists with these champions 
of the bar. He was conscious of his defects, and sought to 
gain the ascendency by superior legal learning. He came to 
the bar with confidence of high intellectual powers and pro- 
found knowledge of the law; and in a little time acquired a 
reputation that placed him at the head of his profession in this 
State and gave him rank among the alile-t common-law 
lawyers in the Union. 

Contemporary with Haywood were several gentlemen of 
the bar now living and several who are dead who have sus- 
tained the character of their profession for legal learning and 


general literature. Among the latter were William Duffy 
and Archibald Henderson. Duffy was the child of misfor- 
tune. Thrown upon the world without friends and without 
fortune, accident introduced him, in his early youth, to the 
acquaintance of John Haywood, Esq., the venerable Treas- 
urer of this State, who, in the exercise of that benevolence 
for which his whole life has been conspicuous, gave him em- 
ployment and enabled him to prosecute his studies and pre- 
pare himself for the bar. Duffy had an opportunity of wit- 
nessing the splendid displays of Davie and Moore and he 
profited by their example. He devoted a large portion of his 
time to polite literature, and acquired a more elegant style in 
composition than any of his contemporaries in North Carolina. 
He had a slight impediment in his speech, hut by laborious 
perseverance he succeeded in regulating the tones and modula- 
tions of his voice in such a way that his impediment seemed 
to be an ornament to his delivery. He was one of the few 
men of our country who could read well; he studied the art 
of reading, and his friends will long remember the pleasure 
they have received from hearing him read. In his addresses 
at the bar he was always impressive, particularly upon topics 
connected with virtuous and benevolent feeling. He had a 
vigorous mind and feelings attuned to the finest emotions. I 
remember him with fond affection. He was my friend, my 
preceptor, my patron. He instructed me in the science of the 
law, in the art of managing causes at the bar, and in the still 
more difficult art of reading books to advantage. I wish it 
were in my power to render to his memory a more perma- 
nent honor than this passing tribute of respect and gratitude ! 
Henderson survived Duffy many years, and obtained the 
first standing at the bar of this State. He was devoted to his 
profession, and, upon the whole, was the most perfect model 
of a lawyer that our bar has produced. It was late in life 
before he turned his attention to polite literature, and he never 
acquired a good style in composition. Yet his style and man- 
ner of speaking at the bar were extremely impressive. I shall 
here speak of him as I did in a sketch of his character pub- 
lished shortly after his death. In him the faculties of a fine 
mind were blended with exalted moral feelings. Although 


he was at all times accessible, he seemed to live and move in 
an atmosphere of dignity. He exacted nothing by his man- 
ner, yet all approached him with reverence and left him with 
respect. The little quarrels and contests of men were be- 
neath him; his was the region of high sentiment, and there 
he occupied a standing that was preeminent. The Constitu- 
tion and jurisprudence of his country were his favorite studies. 
Profound reflection had generalized his ideas and given to his 
political and legal learning a scientific cast. No man better 
understood the theory of our government; no man more ad- 
mired it, and no man gave more practical proofs of his admi- 
ration. The sublime idea that he lived under a government 
of laws was forever uppermost in his mind, and seemed to give 
a coloring to all his actions. As he acknowledged no domin- 
ion but that of the laws, he bowed with reverence to their 
authority, and taught obedience no less by his example than 
his precept. To the humble officer of justice he was respect- 
ful; the vices of private character were overlooked when the 
individual stood before him clothed with judicial authority. 
In the County Courts, where the justices of the peace admin- 
ister the law, he was no less respectful in his deportment than 
in the highest tribunal of the State. He considered obedience 
to the laws to be the first duty of a citizen, and it seemed to 
be the great object of his professional life to inculcate a sense 
of this duty and give to the administration of the laws an 
impressive character. He was conscious of his high standing, 
and never committed himself nor put his reputation at risk. 
He always came to the trial of his causes well prepared; and 
if the state of his health or his want of preparation were likely 
to jeopardize his reputation in the management of his client's 
cause he would decline the trial until a more favorable time. 
The courts in which he practiced, and his brother lawyers, 
understood the delicacy of his feelings, upon this point so well 
that they extended to him the indulgence he required, and a 
knowledge of this part of his character gave confidence to his 
clients and attracted crowds of people to hear his speeches. 
When he rose at the bar no one expected to hear common- 
place matter; no one looked for a cold, vapid, or phlegmatic 
harangue. His great excellence as a speaker consisted in an 


earnestness and dignity of manner and strong powers of 
reasoning. He seized one or two strong points, and these he 
illustrated and enforced. His exordium was short and appro- 
priate; lie quickly man-lied up to the great point in contro- 
versy, making no mancenvre as if he were afraid to approach 
it, or was desirous of attacking it by surprise. The confi- 
dence he exhibited of success he gradually imparted to his 
hearers; he grew more warm and earnest as he advanced in 
his argument, and seizing the critical moment for enforcing 
conviction, he brought forth his main argument, pressed it 
home and sat down. As he advanced in life he seemed more 
and more anxious that the laws should be interpreted and 
administered by the rules of common sense. He lost his rever- 
ence for artificial rules; he said the laws were made for the 
people, and they should be interpreted and administered by 
rules which the people understood, whenever it was practi- 
cable; that common sense belonged to the people in a higher 
degree than to learned men, and that to interpret laws by 
rules which were at variance with the rules of common sense 
necessarily lessened the respect of the people for the laws, and 
induced them to believe that courts and lawyers contrived 
mysteries in the science merely for the purpose of supporting 
the profession of lawyers. He said the rules of pedantry did 
not suit this country nor this age; that common sense had 
acquired dominion in politics and religion, and was gaming it 
in the law; that judges and lawyers should have the indepen- 
ence and magnanimity to strip off the veil of mystery from 
every branch of the science, and simplify and make it intel- 
ligible, as far as possible, to the understanding of the common 

In all free States eloquence has preceded poetry, history, 
and philosophy. By opening the road to wealth and fame it 
subserves the purposes of avarice and ambition; society is led 
captive by its charms, and sometimes bound in fetters by its 
powers. In this State the bar and the General Assembly have 
been thus far the theatres for its display. Oratory is the 
branch of literature which we have cultivated with most suc- 
cess, and in which we have not been far behind any of our 
sister States. 


Not long after Davie left the House of ('oiimn.ii-. there 
appeared in that body another man whose genius we have 
all admired ami whose misfortune we all deplore. I hope I 
may be permitted to speak of him, although he be still living. 
Providence has withdrawn him from public view, and he has 
been followed by the regrets and tears of his countrymen. 
I speak of .lolm Stanly, F>q. For more than twenty vcars 
he has been the ornament, of the bar and of the House 
of Commons. Small in stature, neat in dress, graceful in 
manner, with a voice well modulated, and a mind intrepid, 
disciplined and rich in knowledge, he became the most accom- 
plished orator of the State. His style of eloquence was more 
varied than that of any of his predecessors. Such were the 
versatility of his genius and the extent of his acquirements 
that he could at pleasure adopt the lofty, flowing style of 
Davie, or the plain, simple, energetic style of Moore. He 
could rouse the noble passions, or amuse by his wit and pleas- 
antry. He excelled in appropriate pauses, emphasis and ges- 
ticulation. Xo speaker was ever more fortunate in accommo- 
dating his manner to his subject; and on all important subject - 
he had a greatness of manner which small men seldom acquire. 
He resembled Moore in the quickness of his perceptions and 
the intuition of his judgment. His talents and knowledge 
were always at command, and he could bring them to bear 
with force and effect as occasion required, without any prepa- 
ration. His mind was so well disciplined ; md so happily toned 
that it was always ready for action. He possessed the rare 
talent of conversing well; his conversation was the perpetual 
tlo\\- of sober thought or pleasant humor, and was heightened 
in its effect by his happy style and gracefulness of manner. 
He was among the few orators of this or any country, whose 
stylo and manner in conversation equaled his style and manner 
in public speaking. 

Few of the men whom I have named had the advantage of 
a liberal education; they rose to eminence by the force of 
genius and a diligent application to their studies 'Fhe num- 
ber of our literary men lias been small, when compared with 
our population; but tin's is not a matter of surprise when we 
look to the condition of the State since the elo-c of the Revo- 


lutionary war. When the war ended the people were in pov- 
erty, society in disorder, morals and manners almost prostrate. 
Order was to be restored to society and energy to the laws 
before industry could repair the fortunes of the people; schools 
were to be established for the education of youth and congre- 
gations formed for preaching the gosepl before the public 
morals could be amended. Time was required to effect these 
objects; and the most important of them, the education of 
youth, was the longest neglected. Before this University 
went into operation, in 1795, there were not more than three 
schools in the State in which the rudiments of a classical 
education could be acquired. The most prominent and useful 
of these schools was kept by Dr. David Caldwell, of Guilford 
county. He instituted it shortly after the close of the war 
and continued it for more than thirty years. The usefulness 
of Dr. Caldwell to the literature of North Carolina will never 
be sufficiently appreciated; but the opportunities of instruc- 
tion in his school were very limited. There was no library 
attached to it; his students were supplied with a few of the 
Greek and Latin classics, Euclid's Elements of Mathematics, 
and Martin's Natural Philosophy. Moral philosophy was 
taught from a syllabus of lectures delivered by Dr. Wither- 
spoon at Princeton College. The students had no books on 
history or miscellaneous literature. There were indeed very 
few in the State, except in the libraries of lawyers who lived 
in the commercial towns. I well remember that after com- 
pleting my course of studies under Dr. Caldwell, I spent 
nearly two years without finding any books to read except some 
old works on theological subjects. At length, I accidentally 
met with Voltaire's history of Charles XII. of Sweden, an 
odd volume of Smollett's Roderick Random., and an abridg- 
ment of Don Quixote. These books gave me a taste for read- 
ing, which I had no opportunity of gratifying until I became 
a student in this University in the year 1796. Few of Dr. 
Caldwell's students had better opportunities for getting books 
than myself; and with these slender opportunities of instruc- 
tion, it is not surprising that so few became eminent in the 
liberal professions. At this day, when libraries are estab- 
lished in all our towns, when every professional man and 


every respectable gentleman has a collection of books, it is 
dillicult to conceive the inconveniences under which young 
men labored thirty or forty years ago. 

But has the number of our distinguished men increased as 
the facilities of instruction have increased? They certainly 
have not. Of the number of young men who have been edu- 
cated at this University, how few have risen to eminence in 
any branch of literature! Their number bears no proportion 
to the increased means of instruction which they have had. 
To what causes is this to be attributed? The causes are nu- 
merous, but we will notice only a few of the most operative. 
In the lirst place the plan of education in all our sclmnl-, par- 
ticularly in our preparatory schools, is radically defective; 
too much time is spent upon syntax and etymology; the time 
of the student is wasted, and his genius frittered away upon 
words instead of being developed and polished by the spirit 
of the writer. Instead of directing the study of the Greek 
and Latin classics to the development of his faculties and the 
improvement of his taste, his time is taken up in nice attention 
to words, arrangement of clauses and construction of periods. 
With his mind thus injured, he enters upon the study of the 
physical and moral sciences, and long accustomed to frivolous 
investigation, he never rises to the dignity of those sciences 
nor understands the methods by which their truths are illus- 
trated. In the next place, too many studies are crowded upon 
the student at once; studies which have no analogy or connec- 
tion. In the third place, the time allotted for completing a 
course of scientific study is too short ; the student's mind flags 
under the severe labors imposed upon it. The elasticity of 
the mind ought never to be weakened; if it be, the student 
thenceforward hobbles through his course, and is often broken 
down before he gets to the end of it. In the fourth place, 
too many studies are pursued, and none are pursued well; the 
student acquires a smattering of languages and sciences, and 
understands none of them. This encyclopedical kind of learn- 
ing is destructive of the powers of the mind, and unfits it for 
deep and severe investigation. In the last place, the multi- 
tude of books is a serious injury to most students. They de- 
-pair of reading many of thorn, and content themselves with 


reading reviews of the most celebrated. At length the val- 
uable books are placed away carefully in a library, and news- 
papers, pamphlets and other fugitive productions take up all 
their time for reading. There is nothing in this course which 
teaches youth how to think and investigate. The great object 
of education is to give to the mind activity and energy: this 
object can never be attained by a course of studies which 
distracts its attention and impairs its elasticity. 

The evils which I have mentioned are not confined to the 
schools of North Carolina; they exist in nearly all the schools 
of the Union. Massachusetts has taken the lead in correcting 
them and introducing methods of instruction founded upon 
the philosophy of the mind. The state of science and litera- 
ture among her people shows the happy effect of these changes. 
The Trustees of this University have resolved to make similar 
changes, to remodel the plan of studies, and introduce new- 
methods of instruction. But whatever changes may be made 
in our plan of education, young men, who are desirous of 
being either useful or eminent in active life, should recollect 
this truth, that the education received at a college or university 
is intended only as a preparation of the mind for receiving 
the rich stores of science and general knowledge which subse- 
quent industry is to acquire. He who depends upon this 
preparation alone will be like a farmer who ploughs his land 
and sows no grain. The period of useful study commences 
when a young man finishes his collegiate course. At that 
time his faculties have acquired some maturity from age and 
some discipline from exercise; and if he enter with diligence 
upon the study of a branch of science, and confines his atten- 
tion to that branch, he soon becomes astonished at his progress 
and at the increase of his intellectual powers. Let him avoid 
reading or even looking into a variety of books. Nine-tenths 
of them are worse than useless ; the reading of them produces 
a positive injury to the mind; they not only distract his atten- 
tion, but blunt his faculties. Let him read only works of men 
of genius read but, few books, and read them often. Take 
two young men of equal minds and similar genius; put into 
the hands of one Shakespeare's Plays, Milton's Paradise Loxt, 
Don Quixote and Gil Bias; and into the hands of the other 


all the hundred volumes of dullness which till our libraries; 
and at the end of twelve months mark the difference between 
them. The first will be like the high-spirited steed that is 
ready for the course; the other will be encumbered with a 
load of useless ideas, his faculties weakened, and the bright 
tints of his genius obscured. 

The next great object, after the improvement of the intel- 
lectual faculties, is the forming of a moral character. This 
is by far the most difficult part of education: it depends upon 
the doctrines of morals and the philosophy of the passions and 
feelings. Little success has heretofore attended it, either in 
the schools of Europe or this country. The moral character 
of youth has been generally formed by their parents, by 
friends who gained their confidence, or by their pursuits in 
active life. The morality thus taught is purely practical; it 
has reference to no abstract truths; it looks only to the passions 
and feelings of our nature under the variety of circumstances 
in which we may be placed in society, and the duties which 
ilience result. The science of ethics taught in our schools is 
;i cold, speculative science; and our youth are misled by sub- 
-tituting this for practical morality. It is to be regretted 
that we have no work on moral philosophy which treats of 
ethics purely as a practical science; and it is remarkable that. 
notwithstanding the great improvement that has been made 
within the last century in metaphysical and physical science, 
and the liberal turn of philosophical inquiry which has been 
introduced, the science of ethics remains stationary. The 
question, "AYhat is the foundation of moral obligation?'' is 
not more satisfactorily answered now than it was two centuries 
ago. And until the principles of ethics shall be disentangled 
from the speculative doctrines of theology, interwoven by the 
schoolmen and monks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centu- 
ries, and those principles be traced to the constitution and con- 
dition of man, having for their object the development of his 
social rights and duties, we shall have to regret that the most 
sublime of all the sciences remains imperfect. It seems to be 
reserved for the philosophers of Scotland to trace those prin- 
ciples and make this development; and we wait with impa- 
tience for the promised work of Dugald Stewart on this 


subject. But any system of morals which we may study as 
a science will never have much effect in forming our moral 
character. \Y<- must look to our constitutional temperament, 
to our passions and feelings as influenced by external circum- 
stances; and for rules of conduct we must look to the sermons 
and parables of Christ: they are worth more than all the books 
which have been written on morals; they explain and at the 
same time apply that pure morality which is founded upon 
virtuous feeling. 

Young Gentlemen of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Socie- 
ties : 

As you have conferred on me the honor of delivering this 
first public address under your joint resolution, I hope you 
will permit me before I sit down to say a few words upon a 
subject connected with the usefulness of your Societies and 
the interests of the University. I speak to you in the spirit 
of fellowship, and a long acquaintance with your S<n-irtir~ 
enables me to speak with confidence. I well know the in- 
fluence which your Societies can exercise in maintaining the 
good order of this Institution, in sustaining the authority of 
the faculty, in suppressing vice and promoting a gentlemanly 
deportment among the students. Every respectable student 
of proper age is a member of one or the other of your Societies, 
and feels more mortification at incurring its censure than that 
of the faculty. This feeling is the fulcrum on which the power 
of the Societies ought to be exerted. Let me entreat you 
then, more particularly as you propose hereafter to occupy 
a higher ground than you have heretofore done, to exert that 
power in sustaining the discipline of the University, in en- 
couraging industry and good manners, and in suppressing 
vice. The united efforts of the two Societies can do more in 
effecting these objects than the authority of the Trustees or 
faculty. A high responsibility rests upon you; your honor 
and the welfare of the University demand its faithful dis- 

In a short time you will complete your course of studies at 
this place and bid adieu to these halls, to act your parts upon 

\iri;riIY s A.DDBES8. 117 

the great theatre of active life. \<>ur friend- ;nnl your 
country have much to hope, much to expert, from yon. De- 
vote yourselves with diligence to your studies. When you shall 
have finished your course here, ivmemlier that your education 
is just commencing; I mean that education which is to fit 
yon for acting a distinguished part upon the theatre of your 
country. The pursuits and the honors of literature lie in the 
same road with those of ambition; and he who aspires to 
fame or distinction must rest his hopes upon the improvement 
(if his intellect. Juliu- Caesar was one of the most accom- 
plished scholars of Rome, and Xapoleon Bonaparte of France. 
In our own country we lately have seen one of our most emi- 
nent scholars raised to the chief magistracy of the nation, and 
the greatest orator of the age made his prime minister. I 
.-peak not here of politics: literature has no factions; good taste 
no parties. Remember, my young friends, that most of the 
men who thus far have shed a lustre upon our country had 
not one-half the opportunities of education which you have 
enjoyed. They had to rely upon their genius and industry. 
Genius delights to toil with difficulties: they discipline its pow- 
( rs and animate its courage; it contemns the honors which can 
be obtained without labor, and prizes only those which are 
purchased by noble exertion. Wish not, therefore, for a life 
of ease; but go forth with stout hearts and determined reso- 
lution. As yet you little know what labor and perseverance 
can effect, nor the exalted pleasures which honorable exertion 
gives to an ingenious mind. May God take charge of you; 
lead you in the ways of uprightness and honor: make you all 
useful men, and ornaments to vour country! 


RICHMOND, October 6, 1827. 

DEAR SIR: Your oration, delivered in Person Hall, 
Chapel Hill, reached this place during a visit I had made to 
our mountain country. It was taken out of the post-office 
and placed on a general table, among a number of papers and 


pamphlets received during my absence, and was not perceived 
till to-day. I mention this circumstance as an apology for 
having permitted so much time to elapse without making any 
acknowledgments for the gratification derived from its perusal. 

I take a great deal of interest in your portraits of the emi- 
nent men of North Carolina, who have now passed away from 
the theatre of action. It was my happiness to be acquainted 
with those of whom you speak as being known to yourself, 
and I feel the justness of the eulogies you have bestowed upon 
them. I never heard Mr. Davie nor Mr. Moore at the bar, 
but the impressions they both made upon me in private circles 
were extremely favorable, and I think you have given to the 
character of each its true coloring. Neither have I ever 
heard Mr. Stanly, but I have known him also in private, and 
it was not possible to be in his company without noticing and 
being struck with his general talent, and most especially his 
vivacity, his wit, and his promptness. He appeared to be 
eminently endowed with a ready elocution, and almost in- 
tuitive perception of the subjects of discussion. ~Wiih Mr. 
Haywood and Mr. Henderson I was well acquainted, and have 
heard them often at the bar. They were unquestionably 
among the ablest lawyers of their day. I saw not much of 
Mr. Duffy as a professional man, but thought him a pleasing, 
agreeable gentleman. You omitted one name which ranks, 
I think, among the considerable men of your State. It is 
that of the late Judge Iredell. I was well acquainted with 
him too, and always thought him a man of real talent. 

In the rapid sketch you have taken of the colonial govern- 
ment, some circumstances excite a good deal of surprise. The 
persecuting spirit of the High-church party was still more 
vindictive than I had supposed, and the principle of limiting 
your laws to two years was, I believe, peculiar to Carolina. 
The scarcity of books, too, which seems to have prevailed ever 
since the Revolution, is a very remarkable fact. Although 
I concur perfectly in the opinion you express that much more 
advantage is to be derived from the frequent and attentive 
perusal of a few valuable books, than from indiscriminate and 
multifarious reading that cramming injures digestion yet, 
some books are necessary, not only for ornament, but for use. 

A DDK'ESS. 149 

Allow mo to thank you for the pleasure I have received 
from the perusal of jour oration, for I must suppose that I am 
indebted to yourself for this mark of polite attention, and to 
express my particular acknowledgments for the flattrriiii: 
notice you have taken of the Life of George Washington. 
That work was hurried into the world with too much precipi- 
tation, hut I have lately <ri ven it a careful examination and 
correction. Should another edition appear it will be less 
i'atiu'iiiiii: and more worthy of the character which the biogra- 
pher of Washington oii^ht to sustain. 

"With very great respect and esteem, I am, sir, 
Your obedient servant, 


Haw River, North Carolina. 



William Gaston, late one of the Judges of the Supreme 
Court of North Carolina, was born in the town of ]STew 
Bern on the 19th day of September, A. D. 1778. His 
paternal ancestors were distinguished French Huguenots, who 
were driven from their country by the revocation of the 
famous edict of Nantes, and retired to Ballvmore, in Ireland, 


where they settled, and where Alexander Gaston, the father of 
the Judge, was born. Alexander, having chosen the profes- 
sion of medicine and obtained his diploma at the medical col- 
lege of Edinburgh, entered the British navy as a surgeon. 
After remaining a few years in this service, he resigned his 
commission and came to New Bern in this State, where he 
settled and commenced the regular practice of his profession. 
In the year 1775 he married Margaret Sharpe, an English 
lady of the Roman Catholic faith, by whom he had two sons 
and a daughter, of whom the Judge was the second son. The 
elder brother died young; and before the subject of this 
sketch was three years of age he lost his father in a manner 
deeply tragical. He was shot by a band of Tories, who, in 
the year 1781, surprised the town of New Bern, and singled 
out the doctor, who was an ardent and active Whig, as an 
especial object of their vengeance. It is said that the fatal 
instrument of death was fired over the head of the agonized 
wife, while she was imploring, as only a woman can implore, 
the life of her husband. The Judge was then doubtless too 
young to appreciate all the horrors of the scene, but that it 
made a deep impression upon him in subsequent life we are 
well assured. Many years afterwards, while he was a member 
of Congress, upon being charged, in an exciting party debate, 
with a want of proper American feeling, he indignantly re- 
pelled the imputation by the eloquent exclamation, " I was 
baptized an American in the blood of a murdered father." 



That same incident was alluded to with thrilling effect in the 
convention called to amend ilu- Constitution in 1^>."> by the 
distinguished and venerable president of that body. The 
death of his father threw upon his mother the entire care 
and responsibility of rearing and educating her infant chil- 
dren. Her situation was peculiarly beset with difficulties. 
The death of two brothers, with whom she had come to this 
country, followed by the loss of her husband, left her without 
any other relatives in America than her two children. But 
happily for them, she was a woman of great energy of char- 
acter, of singular prudence, and of devoted piety. It imme- 
diately became a leading object of her life to train up her son 
to usefulness and honor. AVe may be well assured from its 
results, that her course of discipline was eminently judicious. 
Indeed, the Judge has been heard to declare that what- 
ever succes> and distinction he had attained in life he owed 
to her counsels and her admirable management, and that but 
for her he might have been a vagabond. He was first sent to 
school in his native town, and while there he was represented 
as having been " very quick, and apt to learn; of an affection- 
ate temper, and yet volatile and irritable. His mother used 
every means to correct his infirmities of disposition, and to give 
an aim to his pursuits sometimes employing kindness, or 
mild but solemn admonition, and occasionally still stricter 
discipline." She kept him under her own immediate super- 
vision and control until the fall of the year 1791, when she 
sent him to the Unman Catholic college at Georgetown. 
After remaining at this institution about eighteen months, 
his failing health compelled him to return home. Soon after- 
wards his health was reestablished, and he resumed his studies 
under the tuition of the Rev. Thomas F. Irving, who then 
had charge of the academy at New Bern. Here he was pre- 
pared for admission into the junior class of Princeton College, 
which he entered in the fall of 1794; and in 1796 was gradu- 
ated, at the early age of eighteen, with the first honors of the 

-After completing his collegiate course he selected the law 
as his profession, and immediately commenced his studies in 
the office of Francois Xavier Martin, then a practicing lawyer 


in this State, hut now a Judge of the Supreme Court of the 
State of Louisiana. The same diligent attention to the studies 
of his profession, which had distinguished his career in college, 
enabled him to obtain admittance to the bar in the year 1Y98. 
In that same year the late Chief Justice Taylor, who had mar- 
ried his sister, was elevated to the bench and gave all his busi- 
ness to his young friend and relative, which put him at once 
into full practice. This sudden accumulation of business, 
which would have operated to the disadvantage of a mind less 
active and cultivated, served only to call forth all his energies, 
by the necessity it occasioned of a thorough preparation to 
meet the great responsibility thrown upon him. He very soon 
acquired distinction in his profession, which steadily increased 
until he attained, by universal acknowledgment, the proud 
eminence of being at the head of the bar of this State a 
pre-eminence which he never lost until he was raised by his 
admiring countrymen to a still more exalted station. But 
while he was thus pursuing, with rare success, the profits and 
honors of his profession, he never for a moment lost sight of 
the interests of his country. The very next year after he 
reached the age of manhood he was elected a member of the 
State Senate from his native county of Craven; and in 1808 
he was elected a member of the House of Commons, and was 
chosen to preside over its deliberations. The same year he 
was nominated by the Federal party, to which he was attached, 
as Presidential Elector for the district in which he resided. 
The reputation which he had acquired at the bar and in the 
legislative halls of the State for integrity, patriotism and dis- 
tinguished ability procured his election in 1813, and again in 
1815, to the House of Representatives in the Congress of the 
United States. Of the elevated stand which he took in that 
body it is needless for me here to speak. It is a part of the 
history of the country, that amidst the brilliant constellation 
of statesmen then seen in the councils of the American nation 
a constellation illustrated by the genius and eloquence of a 
Lowndes, a Randolph, a Callmnn, a A\ r ebster, and a Clay, the 
star of Gaston was far from being the least brilliant. The ad- 
mirer of parliamentary oratory will find in his speeches upon 
the Loan Bill and the previous question some of the finest 


displays of reasoning and eloquence which our country has 

In 1817, Judge Gaston voluntarily retired from Congress 
and never returned to the national councils. The residue of 
his days he devoted to the duties of domestic and professional 
life, and to the service of his native State. He was frequently 
chosen, sometimes by the freemen of the county of Craven, 
;ind sometimes by those of the town of New Bern, to represent 
tin-in in the General Assembly. Of the value of his services 
in this more limited, but still very important sphere of useful- 
ness it is dillicult to speak in adequate terms without the 
appearance of exaggeration. I have not the materials, if I 
had the time and opportunity, for stating in detail all the 
measures which lie accomplished, or assisted in accomplishing, 
for the good of the State. I can point only to a few monu- 
ments in the course of our legislative history, to show that 
the hand of a master-workman has been there. In the year 
1808 he drew up the " Act regulating the descent of inherit- 
ances," which, with scarcely any alteration or addition, re- 
mains the law on that subject to this day. In 1818 he was 
mainly instrumental in the establishment of our present Su- 
preme Court system; and in 1828 all his varied powers of 
eloquence and argumentation were exerted to their utmost to 
prevent the success of a measure in relation to the banks, 
which would have spread ruin and dismay throughout the 
length and breadth of our State. His last appearance in the 
Legislature was as a member of the House of ( Commons in 
1831 when he made a splendid effort, but all in vain, in favor 
of rebuilding the capitol, which had been destroyed by fire the 
preceding summer. 

In the summer of 1833 a vacancy upon the bench of the 
Supreme Court occurred by the death of Chief Justice Hen- 
derson. From various causes, of which I know too little to 
attempt an explanation, the Supreme Court had at that time 
by no means so strong a hold upon the confidence of the people 
as it has since obtained. It was very desirable, therefore, on 
the part of the friends of the system to fill the vacancy by a 
man of commanding talents and great influence, in order to 
give it strength. All eyes were at once turned towards Judge 


Graston. But there were supposed to be two very serious ob- 
stacles to his acceptance of the office. It was known that his 
practice at the bar was extensive and very lucrative, and it was 
also known that a prudent regard to his private affairs would 
dictate that his professional income should not be exchanged 
for a judge's salary. It was also believed by many that the 
thirty-second article of our State Constitution forbade his 
accepting the office, in that clause which declared that " no 
person who shall deny the truth of the Protestant religion shall 
be capable of holding any office or place of trust or profit, in 
the civil department, within this State." The friends of the 
Judge nevertheless urged him to become a candidate for the 
office. After a full and fair explanation of the latter and most 
important objection, he became satisfied that it was not ten- 
able; and as to the former, that his duty to his country required 
him to make the sacrifice. His name was accordingly brought 
before the Legislature in the winter of 1833, and he was 
elected by a large majority on the first ballot, At the en- 
suing term of the Court he took his seat upon the bench, and 
from that time until the very day of his death he continued 
to discharge the duties of his office with an ability and devo- 
tion seldom equaled and never surpassed. When a Conven- 
tion of the people of the State was called in 1835, to amend 
the Constitution, he took a seat in it as one of the members 
from the county of Craven. Of the manner in which he per- 
formed the peculiarly delicate and important duties of assist- 
ing to revise and amend our fundamental law, I know it is 
needless for me to speak in this presence. The distinguished 
President of this Institution, who was then Governor of the 
State and a member of the Convention, can tell the extent 
of his labors and the value of his services in that body. 
Suffice it for me to say that he was placed on almost every 
important committee; that he took a leading part in every 
important debate; that he, in a great measure, guided and 
directed the whole business of the Convention. And when 
its labors were at last brought to a successful conclusion, it 
was from his hand that the amendments to the Constitution 
received the form and dress in which they now appear. Ex- 
cepting his judicial duties, this was the last public service in 


which he was engaged. It is true that when our Senators 
in Congress resigned in 1840, the Whig party, which h;id 
then the ascendency in tin- Legislature, tendered him the 
nomination for one of the vacancies; but he declined it, pre- 
ferring to remain on the boneli, where he thought he could 
do the State better service. ISTor need we regret his determi- 
nation; for though mine could have represented the State in 
the Senate with more dignity, fidelity, and ability, yet his pro- 
found lepil attainments, hi- extensive and varied information, 
liis severe and patient habits of thought, and a style of com- 
position at once dignified and elegant, so admirably fitted him 
for the high tribunal on which he was placed that we could 
not have wished to see him transferred to any other station, 
however exalted. But it is needless for me to enlarge upon 
his judicial fitness and ability. The Chief Justice of the 
Court, the associate of his labors and his duties, himself one 
of the ablest judges and most profound lawyers of his day, 
has emphatically pronounced from the judgment-seat that he 
was a " great judge." In confirmation of this sentence, if it 
needed confirmation, I would refer to all his reported judicial 
opinions; and particularly to the opinion of the Court as de- 
livered by him in the case of the State vs. Will, 1 Dev. and 
Bat. Rep., 121; and his dissenting opinion in the State vs. 
Miller, ibid., 500; the latter of which has been pronounced 
by a very competent judge one of the finest judicial arguments 
to be found in this country. 

I have said that Judge Gaston continued in the faithful 
discharge of his official duties until the very day of his death. 
This is literally true. On Tuesday, the 23d of January past, 
not quite a fortnight ago, he took his seat in the Court as 
usual, though he had felt for several days a sensation of chilli- 
ness and a difficulty of breathing. He remained on the 
bench until about, two o'clock p. M., giving strict attention to 
a case then under discussion, when he was attacked with faint- 
ness and other symptoms of violent sickness. He was taken 
to his room and a physician called in, who very soon relieved 
him. He revived, became cheerful and engaged in an inter- 
esting conversation with some of his friends who had called to 
see him. In the course of the evening he told several anec- 


dotes, at which they laughed heartily. " He then related ' : 
(says a published account) "the particulars of a convivial party 
at Washington City, many years ago, and spoke of one who, 
on that occasion, avowed himself a freethinker in religion. 
1 From that day,' said Judge Gaston, ' I always looked on that 
man with distrust. I do not say that a freethinker may not 
be an honorable man; that he may not, from high motives, 
scorn to do a mean act; but I dare not trust him. A belief 
in an All-ruling Divinity, who shapes our ends, whose eye is 
upon us, and who will reward us according to our deeds, is 
necessary. We must believe and feel that there is a God 
All-wise and Almighty." As he was pronouncing the last 
word, he rose to give it greater emphasis. The moment after 
there was a sudden rush of blood to the brain, when he imme- 
diately fell back and expired. 

In reviewing the life of this eminent man, which has been 
thus hastily and imperfectly sketched, we see that though left 
an orphan in earliest infancy in a country where he had no 
kindred, save a widowed mother and an infant sister, though 
professing a religious faith almost proscribed, and attached to 
a political party always in the minority, he yet rose to the 
highest summit of professional distinction, acquired, during a 
brief career in the Legislature of his State, a preponderating 
influence in its councils, was among the foremost of the great 
in the national assembly, was selected by almost general accla- 
mation to preside in the highest judicial tribunal known to 
our law, and, more than all, won and maintained to the day 
of his death, the confidence, the admiration, and the affection 
of his countrymen. It is interesting, and it must be profitable 
to all, particularly to you, young gentlemen, who are just 
entering upon the career of life, to inquire what were the 
qualities and what the talents which enabled their possessor, 
under such circumstances, to achieve such great results. In 
the very outset of his life, we discover one trait to which 
much, if not all, of his success was owing his love and ven- 
eration for his mother. 

An early attention to all his dulies, and a dc.-ire to excel 
in everything useful, was another distinctive trait in the char- 
acter of Judge Gaston. We discover this in the rapid progress 

WILLIAM <;AST<>.\. 1 ."> . 

made iii his studies and the distinction which lie acquired at 
college. 1 am aware that collide honor.- are often decried, 
at least by those, who never obtained them, and that it ha- 
been frequently said that they alford no presage of excellence 
in after-life. 1 beg leave to dissent from that opinion. 
-Judge (iaston himself thought far otherwise. Long after he 
had left the walls of his hn mater, when his mind was 
enlarged liy observation and corrected by experience, he ex- 
pressed himself in an address to the young- men who then occu- 
pied the seats now filled by you in the following glowing 
words: " True it is that it sometimes, though very rarely, hap- 
pens that those who have been idle dining their academical 
course have by extraordinary exertions retrieved their early 
neglect and in the end outstripped others who started in the 
nice far ahead. These are exceptions they furnish cause to 
humble arrogance, check presumption, banish despair and 
encourage reformation. But as surely as a virtuous life usually 
precedes a happy death so surely will it be found that within 
the college precincts is laid the groundwork of that pre- 
eminence afterwards acquired in the strife of men; and that 
college distinctions are not only good testimony of the fidelity 
with which college duties have been performed, but the best 
presages and pledges of excellence on a more extended and 
elevated field of action.'' 

A faithful and fearless discharge of whatever he found to 
do in the path of duty was another prominent trait in the 
character of the Judge. He never asked what interest or 
policy might dictate, but what truth and justice required; 
and the latter he resolutely performed, " uncaring conse- 
quences." 1 might mention many instances of his braving 
popular prejudices, and incurring for a time popular odium, 
in doing what an enlightened conscience told him he ought 
to do. A memorable instance is presented in his appearing 
as counsel for Lord Granville in the famous suits which he 
instituted in this State after the Revolutionary war. A 
course, which all would now acknowledge to be right, then 
very sensibly affected his popularity for many years. He was 
at that time a young man, and it required no little of the force 
of conscious rectitude to enable him to stem the torrent of 
prejudice which ran so strong against him. 


Another eminent quality which illustrated the whole life 
of Judge Gaston was the constant love of order and a devoted 
and almost sacred regard for the Constitution and laws of his 
country. In all his precepts, wheresoever and to whomsoever 
uttered, in all his conduct, whether in public or in private, 
he inculcated and enforced obedience to the law, observance 
of order, and the support and maintenance of our fundamental 
institutions in all their integrity. His views and opinions 
upon this subject are expressed in an address which he deliv- 
ered at Princeton in September, 1835, before the " American 
Whig " and " Cliosophic " Societies of the College of New 
Jersey. It is difficult to find anywhere, within the same 
compass, the duties of an American citizen, in relation to the 
laws and institutions of his country, so clearly expressed and 
so powerfully enforced. The address was much admired at 
the time, and received on two occasions a compliment of which 
any man might be justly proud. In a charge to the grand 
jury of his Court, Chief Justice ('ranch, of the District of 
Columbia, read several pages from the address, accompanied 
by remarks of the highest commendation. And shortly after- 
wards, Governor Vance, of Ohio, on an occasion so solemn as 
his inauguaration, quoted largely from it, after speaking in the 
most flattering terms of the author, as one of the most eminent 
statesmen and profound jurists of our country. 

If the qualities which we have considered excite our admira- 
tion and command our respect, that to which I would now 
call your attention is well calculated to inspire love and win 
affection. I mean his kind regard for the young. To them 
he was ever accessible, kind and communicative ; always rea,dy 
to give advice, or to impart instruction. Among them it was 
his delight to unbend, after the severity of his official labors, 
and to engage in their innocent amusements. Often have I 
seen him in such moments of relaxation ; and as I saw, I could 
but admire and love a wisdom which, while it could instruct 
senates, disdained not the sports of the young, nor even the 
frolics of infancy; which, while it could one moment expound 
the gravest of laws, could the moment after explain an apo- 
thegm for the instruction of youth, or solve a riddle for the 
amusement of childhood. His regard for the young extended 

WILLIAM (I \-T<>\. 1 ."ill 

from the curliest to the latest period of that time of life. For 
those just approaching the verge of manhood he has often 
given signal proofs of his solicitude. In l>s:52 he was invited 
to deliver an address before the two Literary Societies of this 
institution, and in 1835 he received an invitation to perform 
a similar duty before the Societies of Princeton College in 
New Jersey. In both instances, though at much personal in- 
convenience, he complied with the request, and delivered the 
addresses to which I have had occasion to allude. On the 
merit of these productions the public has already decided. It 
remains only for me to say that no young man can read them, 
as they ought to be read, with care and attention, without 
profit and advantage ; and the best return I can make for your 
kindness to me on this occasion is to advise each of you to 
procure copies of them, and to " attend to their admonitions, 
treasure up their counsels and obey their injunctions." 

From what I have already said, you have doubtless antici- 
pated my account of the character of Judge Gaston in private 
and domestic life. A kind master, a fond father, a true friend, 
a most amusing and instructive companion, he made the social 
intercourse of life a source at once of pleasure and profit. 
None could make the grave remark, none could tell the laugh- 
able anecdote, better than he. An evening spent among his 
friends alwavs left them in doubt whether to admire most the 


extent of his information, the depth of his erudition, the va- 
riety of his powers, or the easy, cheerful, instructive flow of 
his conversation. 

It can hardly be necessary for me to say that Judge Gaston 
was always a zealous and enlightened friend to the cause of 
education. His great services to the University as a guar- 
dian and benefactor for more than forty years have been very 
justly and appropriately acknowledged in the resolutions re- 
cently adopted. He was appointed a trustee of the University 
in the year 1802, and was at the time of his death, with the 
exception of Judge Potter, the oldest member of the board. 

The crowning glory of Judge Gaston's character remains 
yet to be spoken of. He was a firm believer in the superintend- 
ing Providence of an All-wise and an Almighty Being, and 
in the truths of Revelation. The principles of the Christian 


religion were deeply impressed upon his infant mind by the 
devoted piety of his excellent mother; and they were never 
forgotten and never departed from. An abiding faith in 
them was a staff to his hand and a lamp to his feet. It sus- 
tained, guided, and animated him through life, and in the 
hour of death it did not desert him. The last sentence he 
uttered recognized its truth and its consolations. Yes, this 
elegant scholar, this accomplished orator, this eminent states- 
man, this profound jurist, was an humble follower of the 
meek and lowly Jesus. He thought it no scorn to bow at the 
footstool he felt it no degradation to take upon him the yoke 
of a Saviour. And when his last hour came, we cannot 
doubt that the parting soul counted all fame, reputation, 
worldly pleasures, worldly honors as but dross, in comparison 
with that faith, upon whose wings it was upborne to the bright 
realms of glory. 

Such, my young friends, was the great and good man whose 
life and character I have attempted to portray. I cannot 
take upon myself to say that he was faultless: since the 
memorable declaration of the incarnate Son of God, that 
" there is none good save one, that is God," it would be im- 
pious for me to do so; but whatever might have been his 
frailties, he had such great virtues, such noble qualities, there 
was such a harmony in his character, such a beauty in his 
life, that I can conscientiously propose him for your study, 
and recommend him for your imitation. Go then, and like 
him, perform fully, faithfully, fearlessly, your duty to your- 
selves, your families, your country and your God; and then, 
like him, you will be honored in your lives, and when you 
come to die, a nation's tears will hallow your graves. 



Gentlemen of the Dialectic and Philanthropic Societies: 

When I look around on this extraordinary concourse of vis- 
itors I cannot but feel that expectation has been too highly 
excited, and cannot but anticipate and regret the disappoint- 
ment which it must necessarily meet with. Aware of the 
value which is here set upon the ceremony of the annual 
address; knowing that friends of the University throughout 
the State regard it as calculated not only to excite a spirit 
of emulation among the students, but to attract the public 
attention to the institution itself; and warmly attached to that 
noble cause, for the advancement of which these edifices have 
been erected and your associations formed, I felt myself bound 
to accept the invitation, in obedience to which I appear before 
you. Could I indeed have foreseen the unusual engagements 
which, added to the ordinary occupations of a busy life, have 
left me no leisure to prepare anything worthy of the general 
expectation, I should have deemed myself at liberty to decline ' 
the call. But the discovery was not made until after my word 
was pledged and it was too late to hope that the duty could be 
devolved on another. Compelled then to choose between an 
entire disappointment of your hopes and the presenting myself 
to you without the advantage of full preparation, I have re- 
solved to execute the undertaking imperfectly rather than 
forego it altogether. To whatever petty mortifications the 
adoption of this alternative my expose me elsewhere, from 
you, my young friends, I am sure of a favorable reception. 
You will see in it an expression of the sense which I entertain 
of the honor conferred on me, by your choice, of my readiness 
to gratify your wishes, and of my solicitude to cheer you on 
in the noble career upon which you have entered. Tin- feu- 
homely truths which I wish to impress upon your minds will 
not indeed come mended from my tongue, but I do not despair 


that, presented in their naked plainness, but urged with the 
earnestness and sincerity of friendship, they may win their 
way to your generous and affectionate approbation. 

The authority of Shakespeare is often invoked for the posi- 
tion that " there is a tide in the affairs of men, which taken 
at the flood, leads on to fortune." Without venturing to 
deny altogether the fitness of this metaphor, and fully admit- 
ting it to have enough of truth to render it appropriate to the 
occasion for which it was used, and the character to whom 
the great poet assigned it, I yet regard it as too favorable to 
that indolence of disposition which is always ready to imagine 
success in life as depending on some fortunate tide. I hold 
that, generally, every man is the architect of his own fortune, 
the author of his own greatness or insignificance, happiness 
or misery. True, it is, that casualties, neither to be foreseen 
nor prevented, may defeat schemes which have been wisely 
concerted and vigorously prosecuted; and that success, unde- 
served, and perhaps unsought, may sometimes befall the 
weak and slothful. These, however, are but occasional devia- 
tions from the ordinary course of nature, according to which, 
man's energies, wisely or foolishly directed, and diligently or 
carelessly exerted, are made to determine his character and 
condition in society. The stoutest ship that was ever manned 
with prudent heads, brave hearts, and strong hands has foun- 
dered in a hurricane, while the feeble bark that " owns no 
mastery in floating" is sometimes safely wafted into port; yet, 
who can deny that, ordinarily, the fate of the voyage must de- 
pend on the skill, care, and courage with which it is conducted. 
Much, too, very much, either for permanent good or ill in the 
fate of every individual, has been found to follow almost neces- 
sarily from the habits formed, the propensities cherished or 
restrained, and the rules of conduct adopted at a very early 
period of life. We might, perhaps, be tempted to regret that 
such important and often awful consequences should follow 
on the doings of an age, when the unworn senses are alive to 
every impression and the keen appetite greedy for every en- 
joyment; when the imagination is wild, the judgment feeble, 
and " heedless, rambling impulse '' has scarcely learned to 
think. Yet such is the constitution of nature, and such conse- 


quently the appointment of Him, whose ways are always wise, 
benevolent and just, and whose will it were not more madne-s 
to resist than it is impiety to question. Look through the 
world, and the least observant cannot fail to discover talents 
abused, opportunities squandered, and men ruined because of 
early folly, misbehavior or thoughtlessness; and let those wlm 
have passed through life's ordeal with safety and honor look 
back 011 their trials, and they will acknowledge how much they 
owe to very early impressions and to habits contracted almost 
without a sense of their use or a foresight of their consequences, 
lie, therefore, who aspires to excellence cannot too soon pro- 
pose to himself the objects which he should strive to obtain, 
nor fix his aim too early, or too steadily, on the end to which 
his. efforts should be directed. The shortness of life, large 
fragments of which are necessarily occupied by animal wants 
or wasted on frivolous cares and amusements, leave, at best, 
but an inconsiderable portion to be devoted to intellectual 
cultivation and exertion. To waste this portion would be 
criminal improvidence, and it is of the highest moment to 
leam betimes how it may be most beneficially applied. 

The end which an ingenuous youth naturally proposes to 
himself is a faithful and honorable discharge of the duties of 
life. His objects are to realize the fond hopes of his parents 
and friends, to acquire the affection and esteem of those 
around him, to become the dispenser of good to his fellow-men 
and thus to fulfill the purposes for w r hich it has pleased God to 
place him in this w r orld of trial and discipline. He feels that 
these objects are indeed good. By a moral instinct he is pro- 
pelled towards them as fit to fill his heart, kindle his aspira- 
tions, and animate his exertions. Reason, as she gradually 
unfolds her powers and assumes dominion over him, sanctions 
this choice with her approbation; and religion comes in aid of 
nature and reason, to teach him that talents are but lent to 
be improved, and that an account must be one day rendered 
in which their use or neglect will be amply rewarded or 
severely punished. How much is it not to be lamented that 
sloth should enervate, dissipation corrupt, or vice brutalize 
this child of hope and promise? You, who have him in 
charge, watch over him with never-sleeping vigilance and 


affectionate solicitude. Give him a happy start, sustain him 
when disposed to flag, reanimate him when discouraged, check 
kindly his wanderings, soothe his wounded feelings, guide him 
with your counsels, and save him from the foes by which lie 
is waylaid and beset. Made nova virtute puer sic itur ad 

Most faithfully, no doubt, are these duties performed by 
the able and excellent men who are here charged with the 
office of instruction. Little can be done in aid of their efforts 
but to exhort and entreat all placed under their care to attend 
to their admonitions, treasure up their counsels, and obey their 
injunctions. Yet, there are some errors which were prevalent 
when I was a boy which I have reason to believe still prevail 
in public schools, and which may perhaps be better handled by 
an old friend than an acknowledged instructor, and to these, 
therefore, I would for a few moments request the favorable 
attention of the younger portion of my hearers. 

Vigorous, diligent, and persevering application is essential 
to the attainment of excellence in every pursuit of man. It 
is undoubtedly a mistake to suppose that there is no original 
inequality in the mental faculties of different individuals. 
Probably, there is as great a disparity in their intellectual as 
in their physical conformation. But however false this ex- 
travagant theory may be there is another error far more com- 
mon, and, practically, far more mischievous the error of 
exaggerating the difference between the original energies of 
intellect, and of attributing to splendid and resistless genius 
those victories which are not to be achieved but by well di- 
rected and continued industry. It is in the infancy of life 
that the inequalities of original talent are most striking, and 
it is not strange that vanity, on the one hand, and indolent 
admiration, on the other, should hyperbolically extol these 
obvious advantages. In what this disparity consists it may 
not be easy to state with precision. But from an observation 
of many years, I venture to suggest that the chief natural 
superiority manifested by the favored few over their competi- 
tors in the intellectual conflict is to be found in the facility 
with which their attention is directed and confined to its proper 
subjects. That youth may be regarded as fortunate indeed 


who in early life can restrain his wandering thoughts and tie 
down his mind at will to the contemplation of whatever he 
wishes to comprehend and to make his own. A few moments 
of this concentrated application is worth days and weeks of 
a vague, interrupted, scattered attention. The first resembles 
the well-known manoeuvre in strategy, so simple in its con- 
ception and yet so astonishing in its results, by which all the 
arms of a military force are made to bear upon a given point 
at the same moment. Everything here tells, because there is 
no power wasted, and none misapplied. ISTow let no one 
despair because he finds this effort to confine his attention 
difficult, or for a considerable length of time, impracticable. 
Nothing is more certain than that this power over the mind 
may be acquired. Let the attempt be repeated again and 
again first short, afterwards (as the ability is increased) for 
longer periods, and success will ultimately follow. The habit 
of fixed attention will thus be created, and it is one of the 
peculiarities of all active habits, that in proportion to the diffi- 
culty with which they were produced, is their inveteracy, when 
once thoroughly formed. Thus, it not unfrequently happens 
that the advantages witli which the individual commenced 
his career, who was naturally alert and devoted in his atten- 
tion to every subject as it was successively presented to his 
notice, have not enabled him to contend successfully with 
him who, by hard efforts, has chained down his wandering 
thoughts and dissipated faculties to the habit of attention. 

Among the best results which attend a course of regular 
academical education is this exclusive and concentrated direc- 
tion of the mental powers to their appropriate objects. In the 
years employed principally in the study of the learned lan- 
guages the necessity of finding out the meaning of each word 
and discerning either the agreement between different words 
or the dependence of some of them upon others in certain 
grammatical relations necessarily sharpens and fixes the atten- 
tion. After this preparatory discipline of the intellect the 
student is introduced to the study of mathematical science, 
where proposition leads on to proposition in regular order, 
and his attention is necessarily enchained to each truth, as 
it follows with logical certainty, from truths previously demon- 
strated. He is then initiated into the mysterious laws of nat- 


ural philosophy, as they have been discovered, explained and 
illustrated, by a course of rigorous induction, and is ultimately 
familiarized with the yet nobler and more sublime investiga- 
tions of moral science, the refinements of taste, the beauties 
of eloquence, and the charm of heavenly poesy. And this 
admirable training is conducted remote from the bustle and 
cares of the world, in the very hush of the passions, and be- 
yond the reach of beguiling and distracting pleasures. Here 
surely, then, the understanding is disciplined, its discrimina- 
tion rendered more acute, its general health and vigor con- 
firmed, while a facility is created for directing its powers to 
the various manly and trying services which may await in 
life's busy theatre. But not unfrequently is the question 
asked by querulous students, why all this devoted attention to 
the dead languages, to mathematical theorems, philosophical 
experiments, metaphysical disquisitions and critical subtleties? 
In the world [he soliloquizes] no one talks Greek or Latin, 
and in the forum or legislative hall we shall not be called 
upon to demonstrate the propositions of Euclid, or explain the 
phenomena of hydrostatics and optics. The motives of hu- 
man action are better learned in that great practical school, 
the world, than by poring over the theories of metaphysicians ; 
and all the rules of Quintilian, Rollin, or Blair will never 
make a powerful reasoner or an eloquent orator. Why, then, 
shall we consume our. nights and days in the acquisition of 
that which is to be of no practical utility hereafter, and which 
brings with it no immediate advantage, except the gratifica- 
tion of pride, a shortlived honor, a distinction at commence- 
ment? Beware, my young friends, beware of the tempter! 
These are the suggestions of sloth the most insidious, per- 
suasive and dangerous of deceivers. Vitanda est improba 
Siren Desidia. 

If you cannot close your ears against her insinuations, 
strengthen your understandings to triumph over her sophisms, 
and nerve your courage to resist her wiles. Be sure, if you 
submit to her benumbing influence, and waste your days here 
in idleness, the time will come, when with bitter, but perhaps 
unavailing anguish, you shall bemoan your folly. Remem- 
ber, that it is not designed by an academical education to 
teach you all that it behooves you to learn. Education is not 


completed within these walls. When you shall have quitted 
this peaceful retreat, and selected the profession or state in 
life in which you are to be engaged, then you should apply all 
your efforts to the acquisition of that species of knowledge 
which is more especially needed. Here are inculcated those 
elementary principles of science and literature which experi- 
ence has shown to be best fitted to form the foundation of the 
character of the scholar and gentleman those rudiments of 
instruction, which, omitted here, are rarely indeed acquired 
afterwards. Here are to be formed those habits of vigorous 
and continuous application here, the capacities for improve- 
ment are to be cultivated and strengthened, so that every 
occasion and every employment without these walls may be- 
come subsidiary to further advancement in knowledge, ability, 
and usefulness. It is a miserable fallacy to mistake the excep- 
tion for the rule. True it is, that those who have won the 
highest honors at college do not always realize the hopes which 
these glorious beginnings have excited. " The fair bloom of 
fairest fruit " may be Wasted by pestilent dews. Polly, vanity 
and vice, low pursuits and vulgar associations, indolence, in- 
temperance, and debauchery but too often debase and destroy 
the generous youth who entered on life's career rich in acade- 
mical distinction, docile, ardent for fame, patient of labor, of 
manly purpose and noblest promise. Mourn over these moral 
wrecks. Lament the inadequacy of all earthly good, the frail 
character of all human excellence. Weep for those who have 
fallen from their high estate, but say not it was folly in them 
thus to have risen. True it is also, that it sometimes, though 
very rarely, happens that those who have been idle during 
their academical course have, by extraordinary exertions, re- 
trieved their early neglect, and in the end outstripped others 
who started in the race far ahead. These are the exceptions 
they furnish cause to humble arrogance, check presumption, 
banish despair, and encourage reformation. But so surely as 
a virtuous life usually precedes a happy death, so surely it 
will be found that within the college precincts is laid the 
groundwork of that preeminence afterwards acquired in tho 
strife of men, and that college distinctions are not only good 
testimony of the fidelity with which college duties have been 
performed, but the best presages and pledges of excellence on 


a more elevated and extensive field of action. In defiance, 
therefore, of all the lures of pleasure and seductive suggestions 
of sloth, let active, persevering industry be the habit of your 
lives. Form this habit here, and cherish and preserve it ever 

But however earnestly you are thus exhorted to diligence, 
let it not be forgotten that diligence itself is but a subordinate 
quality, and derives its chief value from the end to which it 
is directed and the motives by which it is impelled. It is 
diligence in a good cause only that is commendable. The 
first great maxim of human conduct, that which it is all-im- 
portant to impress on the understandings of young men, and 
recommend to their hearty adoption is, above all things, in all 
circumstances, and under every emergency, to preserve a clean 
heart and an honest purpose. Integrity, firm, determined 
integrity, is that quality which, of all others, raises man to 
the highest dignity of his nature, and fits him to adorn and 
bless the sphere in which he is appointed to move. Without 
it, neither genius nor learning, neither the gifts of God, 
nor human exertions, can avail aught for the accomplish- 
ment of the great objects of human existence. Integrity 
is the crowning virtue integrity is the pervading princi- 
ple which ought to regulate, guide, control, and vivify 
every impulse, desire, and action. Honesty is sometimes 
spoken of as a vulgar virtue; and perhaps that honesty, which 
barely refrains from outraging the positive rules ordained by 
society for the protection of property, and which ordinarily 
pays its debts and performs its engagements, however useful 
and commendable a quality, is not to be numbered among 
the highest efforts of human virtue. But that integrity which,, 
however tempting the opportunity, or however secure against 
detection, no selfishness nor resentment, no lust of power, 
place, favor, profit or pleasure can cause to swerve from the 
strict rule of right, is the perfection of man's moral nature. 
In this sense the poet was right when he pronounced an honest 
man the noblest work of God. It is almost inconceivable 
what an erect and independent spirit this high endowment 
communicates to man, and what a moral intrepidity and 
vivifying energy it imparts to his character. There is a 
family alliance between all the virtues, and perfect integrity 

G ASTON 's AIHiKKSS. 1 <'>!) 

is always followed by a train of goodly qualities, frankness, 
benevolence, humanity, patriotism, promptness to act, jm<l 
patience to endure. In moments of public need, these indi- 
cate the man who is worthy of universal confidence. Erected 
on such a basis, and built up of such materials, fame is en- 
during. Such is the fame of our Washington, of the man 
" inflexible to ill and obstinately just." \Vhile, therefore, 
other monuments, intended to perpetuate human greatness, 
are daily mouldering into dust, and belie the proud inscrip- 
tions which they bear, the solid granite pyramid of his glory 
lasts from age to age, imperishable, seen afar off, looming 
high over the vast desert, a mark, a sign, and a wonder for the 
wayfarers through this pilgrimage of life. 

A nice sense of integrity cannot, therefore, be too early 
cherished, or too sedulously cultivated. In the very dawn- 
ings of life occasions are presented for its exercise. Within 
these walls temptations every day occur, when temporary ad- 
vantage solicits a deviation from the rule of right. In the 
discharge of the various duties which you owe to your com- 
panions, let no petty selfishness be indulged, no artifices prac- 
ticed, by which you are to escape from your fair share of 
labor, inconvenience or contribution, or any one deprived of 
the full measure of whatever he may rightfully claim. Culti- 
vate singleness of purpose and frankness of demeanor, and 
hold in contempt whatever is sordid, disingenuous, cunning or 
mean. But it is when these peaceful shades shall have been 
1< -ft behind, and the fitful course of busy life begun, that 
seductions will be presented under every form by which inex- 
perience, infirmity of purpose, and facility of disposition, can 
he \vavlaid. Then is the crisis of the voung man's fate then 

l/ V 

is the time to take his stand, to seize his vantage ground. If 
he can then defy the allurements of cupidity, sensuality and 
ambition, the laugh of fools, the arts of parasites, and the 
contagion of improbity, then indeed, may he hope, 

"In sight of mortal and immortal ]K>\VCTS. 
As in a boundless theatre to run 
The great career of justice 
And through the mists of passion and of sense, 
And through the tossing tide of chance and jiuin 
To hold his course unfaltering." 


You, my young friends, who are standing at the threshold, 
and waiting with eager impatience the signal for entrance 
upon life, must not think that I mean to alarm you with idle 
fears because I thus warn you of the approaching conflict. 
The enraged bull may close his eyes before he rushes upon his 
foe, but rational courage calmly surveys danger, and then 
deliberately prepares and determines to encounter it. 
Apprised of your peril, and armed for the encounter, enter on 
your course with resolved hearts, and fear not for the issue. 

So sweet are the notes of human praise, and so abhorrent 
the tones of reproach, that it is among the highest efforts of 
magnanimity to pursue the straightforward course of duty, 
without being turned aside by commendation or reproof, by 
flattery or calumny. Whatever be our journey through life, 
like the princess in the eastern tale, ascending the mountain 
in search of the wondrous bird, we are sure to hear around 
us the confused sounds of blandishment and solicitation, or 
menace and insult, until with many of us, the giddy head 
is turned, and we are converted into monuments of warning 
to those who are to follow life's adventure. Rare, indeed, is 
that moral courage which, like the prudent Parizade, closes 
its ears against the impression of these sounds, and casts not 
an eye behind until its destined course be accomplished. 
Rare, however, as may be this excellence, and in its perfection 
perhaps unattainable, there can be no true dignity and decis- 
ion of character without a near approach to it. Let youth 
be ever modest, ever deferential to the counsels, the sugges- 
tions and the claims of others. But in matters of right and 
wrong, whatever be the lures, the taunts, or the usages of the 
world, or whatever the supposed inconveniences of singularity, 
let judgment and conscience always rule with absolute sway. 
Carry this maxim with you through life, whatever be the 
station you are to occupy, or the business you are to pursue; 
and carry with it another kindred maxim rely for success 
in your undertakings, not on the patronage of others, but on 
your own capacity, resolution, diligence, and exertions. Rise 
by merit, or rise not at all. Suited as these injunctions are 
believed to be by all, they are peculiarly addressed to those 
who, panting for renown, are resolved to enter upon a public 
career, and long "to read their history in a nation's eyes." 


"O how wretched," exclaimed the Poet of Nature, "is 
that poor man that hangs on princes' favors." .Miserable is 
the condition of every being who hangs on the favors of 
creatures like himself. Deserve, and strive by desert, to win 
the esteem of your fellow-men. Thus acquired, it decorates 
him who obtains and blesses those who bestow it. To them it 
is returned in faithful service, and to him in aid of tin* appro- 
bation of conscience to animate diligence and reward exertion. 
Those too, who engage in public service, are bound to cherish 
a hearty sympathy with the wants, feelings, comforts, and 
wishes of the people whose welfare is committed to their 
charge. It is essential for tho preservation of that confidence 
which ought to subsist between the principal and the agent, 
the constituent and the representative, that all haughtiness 
and reserve should be banished from their intercourse. It 
sometimes happens that he who has lived too constantly among 
books manifests a disgust in an association with the unedu- 
cated and unrefined, which mortifies and repels them. This 
is absurd in him, and unjust to them. It is absurd, for he 
ought to know, and know well, those for whom, and upon 
whom, he expects to act they constitute in fact, one of the 
first and most appropriate objects of his study; and it is unjust, 
for not unfrequently under this roughness which shocks the 
man of books is to be found a stock of practical information, 
in which he is miserably deficient. Banish, then, all super- 
ciliousness, for it is criminal and ridiculous. Honestly seek 
to serve your country, for it is glorious to advance the good 
of your fellow-men, and thus, as far as feeble mortals may, 
act up to the great example of Him in whose image and like- 
ness you are made. Seek also, by all honest arts, to win their 
confidence, but beware how you prefer their favor to their 
service. The high road of service is indeed laborious, exposed 
to the rain and sun, the heat and dust; while the by-path 
of favor has, apparently, at first, much the same direction, 
and is bordered with flowers and sheltered by trees, " cooled 
with fountains and murmuring with waterfalls." No won- 
der, then, that like the son of Abensina, in Johnston's beau- 
tiful apologue the young adventurer is tempted to try the hap- 
py experiment of "uniting pleasure with business, and gain- 


ing the rewards of diligence without suffering its fatigues." 
But once entered upon, the path of favor, though found 
to decline more and more from its first direction, is pur- 
sued through all its deviations, till at length even the 
thought of return to the road of service is utterly abandoned. 
To court the fondness of the people is found or supposed to 
be easier than to merit their approbation. Meanly ambitious 
of public trust, without the virtues to deserve it; intent on 
personal distinction, and having forgotten the ends for which 
alone it is worth possessing, the miserable being, concentered 
all in self, learns to pander to every vulgar prejudice, to advo- 
cate every popular error, to chime in with every dominant 
party, to fawn, natter and deceive, and become a demagogue! 
All manliness of principle has been lost in this long course 
of meanness: he dare not use his temporary popularity for 
any purposes of public good, in which there may be a hazard 
of forfeiting it; and the very eminence to which he is exalted 
renders but more conspicuous his servility and degradation. 
However clear the convictions of his judgment, however strong 
the admonitions of his, as yet, not thoroughly stifled con- 
science, not these, not the law of God, nor the rule of right, 
nor the public good, but the caprice of his constituents, must 
be his only guide. Having risen by artifice, and conscious of 
no worth to support him, he is in hourly dread of being sup- 
planted in the favor of the deluded multitude by some more 
cunning deceiver. And such, sooner or later, is sure to be his 
fate. At some unlucky moment, when he bears his blushing 
honors thick upon him and well may such honors blush- 
he is jerked from his elevation by some more dextrous dema- 
gogue, and falls, unpitied, never to rise again. Can this be 
the lot of him who has been here trained to admire and love 
high-minded excellence, and who has been taught by high 
classical authority to regard with the same fearless and im- 
movable indifference the stern countenance of the tyrant and 
the wicked ardor of the multitude, and who has learned from 
a yet higher and holier authority to hold fast to " whatsoever 
things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever 
things are just, whatsoever things are pure, to abhor that 
which is evil and cleave to that which is good?' : Believe 


me, however, this is no fancy picture. The original may be 
found in the world every day. Nor will it surprise those who 
have had occasion to see how the vain heart is swollen, and 
the giddy head turned, how honesty of purpose and manliness 
of spirit are perverted by popular applause. It is but tin- 
first step that costs. - Once yield to the suggestion that a little 
deceit or prevarication, a slight sacrifice of principle and inde- 
pendence^ compr i-e of conscience in matters not absolutely 

fundamental, may be excused, when the immediate gain is 
obvious and the end in view important, and the downward 
path becomes every day more and more smooth until, in its 
descent, it reaches the very abyss of vulgar, trading, in- 
triguing, electioneering, office-hunting politicians. If in this 
lowest depth a lower deep can be found, none of us, I am sure, 
have the curiosity to explore it. 

But is integrity sure to meet here its merited reward? 
Unquestionably not. If it were, and the fact generally 
known, there would scarcely be room for choice, and men 
would be honest from the want of a plausible temptation 
to be otherwise. But it is not too much to say, that in 
general, integrity has a tendency to promote the interests of 
him who pursues it, and it is therefore recommended to our 
adoption by prudence, not less than by principle. Success 
in the acquisition of any intrinsic object is necessarily un- 
certain, since it depends on contingencies which cannot be 
foreseen, and which, if foreseen, are frequently beyond our 
power. It is not in mortals to command success. No talent, 
no courage, no industry, and no address can be certain to 
effect it. But when it is attempted by cunning, disingenuous 
means, it is usually rendered more difficult of attainment 
because of the complexity of the scheme and the risk of detec- 
tion and counteraction. Honesty, in the long run, is there- 
fore the surer policy. It is impossible to thrive without the 
reputation of it, and it is far easier to be honest, indeed, than 
to cheat the world into the belief of integrity where it is not. 
The crooked stratagems, the arts, toils, concealments and self- 
denials, which are necessary to carry on a successful imposi- 
tion, are far more onerous and painful than all the duties 
which a life of probity enjoins; while the consciousness of an 


upright deportment diffuses through the whole man that se- 
curity and serenity which infinitely outweighs all the advan- 
tages of successful cunning. Nor, in recommending a spirit 
of independence, is it intended to proscribe the acceptance of 
friendly aid, freely tendered, and won by no mean solicitation. 
Children of the same common family, we are bound to help 
each other in the trials and difficulties of our common pilgrim- 
age; nor should we ever be too proud to receive from others 
that assistance which it is our duty to render to them. Now 
such aid is not only more likely to be bestowed, but conies 
with far greater effect, when there has been a manly and sus- 
tained effort to do without it. The spindling plant which 
has always been supported by a prop is not only unable to 
stand alone, but can scarcely be sustained by props when the 
season of fruit arrives; whereas, the slight assistance then be- 
stowed on the hardy tree that, self -sustained, has always braved 
the breeze, will enable it to bear up under the heaviest and 
richest burthen. He who trusts to others must necessarily 
be often disappointed, and the habit of dependence creates 
a helplessness which is almost incapable of exertion. Fancy 
dwells on expected aid, until it mistakes its own creations for 
realities, and the child of illusion wastes life in miserable day- 
dreams, unable to act for himself, and confidently relying on 
assistance which he is destined never to receive. 

Deeply-rooted principles of probity, confirmed habits of in- 
dustry, and a determination to rely on one's own exertions 
constitute, then, the great preparation for the discharge of 
the duties of man, and the best security for performing them 
with honor to one's self and benefit to others. But it may be 
asked what is there in such a life of never-ending toil, effort 
and privation, to recommend it to the acceptance of the young 
and the gay? Those who aspire to heroic renown, may indeed 
make up their minds to embrace these "hard doctrines; " but 
it may be well questioned whether happiness is not preferable 
to greatness, and enjoyment more desirable than distinction. 
Let others, if they will, toil " up the steep where Fame's proud 
temple shines afar"; we choose rather to sport in luxurious ease 
and careless glee in the valley below. It is, indeed, on those 
who aspire to eminence that these injunctions are intended to 


bo pressed with the greatest emphasis, not only because ;i 
failure in them would be more disastrous than in others, bui. 
because they are exposed to greater and more numerous dan- 
gers of error. But it is a sad mistake to suppose that they 
are not suited to all, and are not earnestly urged upon all, 
however humble their pretensions or moderate their view.-. 
Happiness, as well as greatness, enjoyment as well as renown, 
have no friends so sure as Integrity, Diligence, and Indepen- 
dence. We are not placed here to waste our days in wanton 
riot or inglorious ease, with appetites perpetually gratified 
and never palled, exempted from all care and solicitude, with 
life ever fresh, and joys ever new. He who has fitted us for 
our condition, and assigned to us its appropriate duties, has 
not left his work unfinished, and omitted to provide a penalty 
for the neglect of our obligations. Labor is not more the 
duty than the blessing of man. Without it there is neither 
mental nor physical vigor, health, cheerfulness, nor anima- 
tion; neither the eagerness of hope, nor the capacity to enjoy. 
Every human being must have some object to engage his atten- 
tion, excite his wishes, and rouse him to action, or he sinks, 
a prey to listlessness. For want of proper occupation, see 
strenuous idleness resorting to a thousand expedients the 
race-course, the bottle, or the gaming-table, the frivolities of 
fashion, the debasements of sensuality, the petty contentions 
of envy, the grovelling pursuits of avarice, and all the various 
distracting agitations of vice. Call you these enjoyments? 
Is such the happiness which it is so dreadful to forego? 

"Vast happiness enjoy the gay allies! 

A youth of follies, an old age of cares, 
Young yet enervate, old yet never wise ; 

Vice wastes their vigor and their mind impairs. 
Vain, idle, dissolute, in thoughtless ease, 

Reserving woes for age, their prime they spend ; 
All wretched, hopeless to the evil days, 

With sorrow to the verge of life they tend ; 
Grieved with the present, of the past ashamed; 

They live and are despised, they die, no more are named." 

If to every bounty of Providence there be annexed, a? 
assuredly there is, some obligations as a condition for its enjoy- 


ment, on us, blest as we have been, and as we now are, with 
the choicest gifts of heaven here below with freedom, peace, 
order, civilization and social virtue there are unquestionably 
imposed weighty obligations. You whom I now add re will, 
in a few years, be among the men of the succeeding age. In 
a country like ours, where the public will is wholly unfet- 
tered, and every man is a component part of that country, 
there is no individual so humble who has not duties of a public 
kind to discharge. His views and actions have an influence 
on those of others, and his opinions, with theirs, serve to make 
up that public will. More especially is this the case with 
those who, whatever may be their pursuits in life, have been 
raised by education to a comparative superiority in intellectual 
vigor and attainments. On you, and such as you, depends the 
fate of the most precious heritage ever won by the valor, pre- 
served by the prudence, or consecrated by the virtue of an 
illustrious ancestry illustrious, not because of factitious titles, 
but nature's nobles, wise, good, generous, and brave! To you, 
and such as you, will be confided in deposit the institutions 
of our renowned and beloved country. Receive them with 
awe, cherish them with loyalty, and transmit them whole, 
and, if possible, improved, to your children. Yours will, in- 
deed, be no sinecure office. As the public will is the operative 
spring of all public action, it will be your duty to make and 
to keep the public will enlightened. There will always be 
some error to dispel, some prejudice to correct, some illusion 
to guard against, some imposition to detect and expose. In 
aid of these individual efforts, you must provide, by public 
institutions, for diffusing among the people that general infor- 
mation, without which, they cannot be protected from the 
machinations of deceivers. As your country grows in years, 
you must also cause it to grow in science, literature, arts, and 
refinement. It will be for you to develop and multiply its 
resources, to check the faults of manners as they rise, and to 
advance the cause of industry, temperance, moderation, jus- 
tice, morals, and religion all around you. On you too, will 
devolve the duty which has been long neglected, but which 
cannot with impunity be neglected much longer, of providing 
for the mitigation, and (is it too much to hope for in North 


Carolina?) for the ultimate extirpation of the worst evil that 
afflicts the southern part of our confederacy. Full well do 
you know to what I refer, for on this subject there is, with all 
of us, a morLid sensitiveness which gives warning even of an 
approach to it. Disguise the truth as we may, and throw the 
blame where we will, it is slavery which, more than any other 
cause, keeps us back in the career of improvement. It stifles 
industry and represses enterprise it is fatal to economy and 
providence, it discourages skill, impairs our strength as a com- 
munity, and poisons morals at the fountain-head. How this 
evil is to be encountered, ho\v subdued, is indeed a difficult 
and delicate inquiry which this is not the time to examine nor 
the occasion to discuss. I felt, however, that I could not dis- 
charge my duty without referring to this subject, as one which 
ought to engage the prudence, moderation, and firmness of 
those who, sooner or later, must act decisively upon it. 

I would not depress your buoyant spirits with gloomy 
anticipations, but I should be wanting in frankness if I did not 
state my convictions that you will be called to the perform- 
ance of other duties unusually grave and important. Perils 
surround you, and are imminent, which will require clear 
heads, pure intentions and stout hearts to discern and over- 
come. There is no side on which danger may not make its 
approach, but from the wickedness and madness of factions 
it is most menacing. Time was, indeed, when factions con- 
tended amongst us with virulence and fury, but they were, 
or affected to be, at issue on questions of principle; now 
Americans band together under the names of men, and wear 
the livery and put on the badges of their leaders; then the 
individuals of the different parties were found side by side, 
dispersed throughout, the various districts of our confederated 
republic, but now the parties that distract the land are almost 
identified with our geographical distinctions. Now, then, has 
come the period foreseen and dreaded by our "Washington 
by him, " who more than any other individual, founded this, 
our wide-spreading empire, and gave to our western world 
independence and freedom ' : -by him, who with a father's 
warning voice, bade us beware of " parties founded on geo- 
graphical discriminations." As yet, the sentiment so deeply 


planted in the hearts of our honest yeomanry, that union is 
strength, has not been uprooted. As yet, they acknowledge 
the truth and feel the force of the homely but excellent 
aphorism, " United we stand, divided we fall." As yet, they 
take pride in the name of " the United States " -in the recol- 
lection of the fields that were won, the blood which was 
poured forth, and the glory which was gained in the common 
cause, and under the common banner of a united country. 
May God, in His mercy, forbid that I or you, my friends, 
should live to see the day when these sentiments and feelings 
shall be extinct! Whenever that day comes, then is the. 
hour at hand when this glorious republic, this once national 
and confederated Union, which for nearly half a century has 
presented to the eyes, the hopes and the gratitude of man 
a more brilliant and lovely image than Plato or More or 
Harrington ever feigned or fancied, shall be like a tale that 
is told, like a vision that hath passed away. But these senti- 
ments and feelings are necessarily weakened, and in the end 
must be destroyed, unless the moderate, the good, and the wise 
unite to " frown indignantly upon the first dawnings of every 
attempt to alienate any portion of our country from the rest, 
or to enfeeble the sacred ties which now link together its 
various parts." Threats of resistance, secession, separation 
have become common as household words in the wicked and 
silly violence of public declaimers. The public ear is famil- 
iarized with and the public mind will soon be accustomed to 
the detestable suggestion of disunion! Calculations and 
conjectures, what may the East do without the South, and 
what may the South do without the East, sneers, menaces, 
reproaches, and recriminations, all tend to the same fatal end ! 
What can the East do without the South? What can the 
South do without the East? They may do much; they may 
exhibit to the curiosity of political anatomists, and the pity 
and wonder of the world the disjecta membra, the sundered, 
bleeding limbs of a once gigantic body instinct with life and 
strength and vigor. They can furnish to the philosophic his- 
torian another melancholy and striking instance of the political 
axiom that all republican confederacies have an inherent and 
unavoidable tendency to dissolution. They will present fields 

OASTON'S ATvnnttSS. IT'.' 

and occasion for border wars, for league- and counter-leagues, 
for the intrigues of petty statesmen, the struggle- of military 
chiefs, for confiscation-, insurrections, and deeds o| darkest 
hue. They will gladden the hearts of those who have pro- 
claimed that men are not fit to govern themselves, and shed 
a disastrous eclipse on the hopes of rational freedom th rough- 
out the world. Solon in his code proposed no rational pun- 
ishment for parricide, treating it as an impossible crime. Such 
with us ought to be the crime of political parricide the dis- 
memberment of our " fatherland/' Car! sun/ parentes, cari 
liberi, propinqui, familiaresj serf oninex omnium 
piilrin nna complexa est; pro qua quis bonus dubitet 
oppetere, si ei sit profuturus? Quo est detesfabilior ixlnnun 
iiiinidiiihix qui lacerarunt ornni scelere patriam, et in ea 

J. L 

fiiudilitx iJrli'inld arm />ul i et sunt et fuerunl. 

If it must be so, let parties and party men continue to quarrel 
with little or no regard to the public good. They may mystify 
themselves and others with disputations on political economy, 
proving the most opposite doctrines to their own satisfaction, 
and perhaps to the conviction of no one else on earth. They 
may deserve reprobation for their selfishness, their violence, 
their errors, or their wickedness. They may do our country 
much harm. They may retard its growth, destroy its har- 
mony, impair its character, render its institutions unstable, 
pervert the public mind, and deprave the public morals. 
These are indeed evils, and sore evils, but the principle of life 
remains, and will yet struggle with assured success over these 
temporary maladies. Still we are great, glorious, united, and 
free, still we have a name that is revered abroad and loved at 
home a name which is a tower of strength to us against for- 
eign wrong and a bond of internal union and harmony, a name 
which no enemy pronounces but with respect, and which no 
citizen hears but with a throb of exultation. Still we have th:>t 
blessed Constitution which, with all its pretended defects and 
all its alleged violations, has conferred more benefit on man 
than ever yet flowed from any other human institution- 
winch has established justice, insured domestic tranquillity, 
provided for the common defense, promoted the general wel- 
fare, and which, under God, if we be true to ourselves, will 


insure the blessings of liberty to us and to our posterity. 
Surely such a country and such a Constitution have claims 
upon you, my friends, which cannot be disregarded. I entreat 
and adjure you, then, by all that is near and dear to you on 
earth, by all the obligations of patriotism, by the memory of 
your fathers who fell in the great and glorious struggle, for 
the sake of your sons whom you would not have to blush for 
your degeneracy, by all your proud recollections of the past 
and all your fond anticipations of the future renown of our 
nation, preserve that country, uphold that Constitution. Re- 
solve that they shall not be lost while in your keeping, and 
may God Almighty strengthen you to fulfill that vow! 




My acquaintance with Mr. Badger commenced in the latter 
part of the summer of 1825. He had already completed hi.s 
service as a jndge, which office he resigned at the close of the 
spring circuit of that year; had contested the palm of forensic 
eloquence and professional learning with Seawell and Gaston, 
with a wide increase of reputation, at the recent term of the 
Supreme Court, and was returned to the practice in Orange, 
where he had once resided, in generous competition with 
Murphy, Nash, Yancey, Mangum, Hawks, Hay wood, and 
others Mr. Kuffin, hitherto the leader at this bar, having 
been appointed his successor on the bench of the Superior 

He was then a little turned of thirty years of age. One 
half of his time since his majority had been passed upon the 
bend], yet his fame as a lawyer was fully established: and 
though he doubtless afterwards added vastly to his stores of 
erudition, yet in quickness of perception, readiness of compre- 
hension, clear and forcible reasoning, elegant and imposing- 
diction, in all that constitutes an orator and advocate, he had 
attained an eminence hardly surpassed at any period of his 
life. From that time and before it, I know not how long, till 
the dav he was stricken bv the disease which terminated his 


life, in North Carolina, at least, his name was on every tongue. 
He was not only marked and distinguished, but an eminent 
man. So bright and shining a character could not but attract 
general observation; and though 

" Hard is his fate on whom the public gaze 
Is fixed forever, to detract or praise "; 

and while, with gay and hilarious nature, frank but some- 
what eccentrical manners and unequaled powers of conver- 
sation, united with some infirmity of temper, his expressions 


and conduct in the earlier half of his life were often the sub- 
ject of severe criticism; yet in the long period of from forty 
to fifty years, in which he moved " in the high places of the 
world/' no one denied him the gifts of most extraordinary 
talents and unswerving integrity and truthfulness. Even in 
the particular in which complaint had been made an im- 
puted hauteur and exclusiveriess his disposition was either 
mellowed by time, or, what is more probable, his character 
caine to be better appreciated from being better understood; 
and for years before the sad eclipse which obscured his useful- 
ness no man enjoyed more of the general confidence and favor 
of the people, as none had possessed in a higher degree their 

Transferred to the more extended field of jurisprudence 
administered in the courts of the United States, and afterwards 
to the Senate of the nation, he took rank with the first 
advocates, jurisprudents, and debaters of the Union; and the 
purity of his morals, the elevation of his character, his readi- 
ness and accomplishments as a conversationalist, the gayety 
and vivacity of his manners, rendered him a general favorite 
with old and young, the grave and gay, in the brilliant society 
of the metropolis. 

(ieorge Edmund Badger was born in Xew Bern, North 
Carolina, on the 17th of April, 1795. His father, Thomas 
Badger, Esq., the son of Edmund and Lucretia Badger, was 
a native of Connecticut, and his birth is recorded to have taken 
place at Windham, in that State, on the 27th of June, 1766. 
Having received a good education, he came early in manhood 
to New Bern, and thence to Spring Hill, in the county of 
Lenoir, where for some time he taught school, but was then 
probably a student of the law, and was in due time admitted 
to the practice in this State. Eixing his residence in New 
Bern, he early rose to distinction as a practitioner, and appears 
in the published reports as one of the leading counsellors in 
the courts of that riding, and in the Supreme Court of the 
State, from 1792 till his death, which occurred from yellow 
fever, while in attendance on a court at Washington, in Beau- 
fort county, on the 10th of October, 1799. 

The traditions of the profession and of intelligent persons 


of his acquaintance represent him as a man of determined char- 
acter and great intellectual and professional ability, and leave 
the question in doubt whether at the same period of life he 
was more than equaled by his son. The late Peter Browne, 
himself one of the first lawyers and men of letters of his time 
in North Carolina, a contemporary at the bar of the senior 
Badger, spoke of him, before the entrance of his son into 
public life, as one of the ablest men he had ever known, and 
especially as possessing a power to fascinate and control masses 
of men in the most remarkable degree a power, he added, 
which the son might exert with similar effect, if he would. 

His mother, by name Lydia Cogdell, was the daughter of 
Colonel Richard Cogdell, of New Bern, a gentleman of much 
consideration under the provincial rule in North Carolina, and 
an active and bold leader in the movement of the Revolution. 
As early as August, 1775, his name appears second on the list 
of the committee of safety for New Bern district, appointed 
by the first Congress of the province (that of Alexander Gas- 
ton being at the head). Lydia Cogdell was a person of singu- 
lar vigor of mind and character, well fitted to encounter the 
cares and trials of her early widowhood. Her husband had 
experienced that which has been said to be the common lot 
of the profession in this country, " to work hard, live well and 
die poor," and left her with but little fortune to rear three 
children, of whom George was the eldest and the only son. 

According to her narrative, he manifested no fondness for 
books, and made little progress in learning till about seven 
years of age. At that period she placed in his hands Gold- 
smith's Animated Nature. He was delighted with its perusal, 
and she never found it necessary to stimulate his thirst for 
knowledge afterwards. His preparatory course was taken in his 
native town of New Bern, and at the age of fifteen he entered 
Yale College. There he passed through the studies of the 
freshman and the sophomore classes, when his education, so 
far as it depended on schools, was brought to a close. A rela- 
tive, a man of fortune, at the North, who had hitherto fur- 
nished the means for his college expenses (his own patrimony 
being wholly insufficient), and from whose bounty he had 
hoped to pass on to graduation, suddenly withdrew his sup- 


port and left him to his own exertions. Of the motives of 
this unexpected arrest in his college career, on which so much 
might have depended, it is useless, now at least, to specu- 
late or inquire. But it will be a source of gratification to his 
friends to be assured that it was attributable to no demerit in 
our student. True, his contemporaries at Yale differ widely 
in their estimation of his capacities while there. The North- 
ern students, who belonged to a different society, regarded him 
as a frolicsome youth, averse to mathematics, and fond of novel- 
reading, who gave no indications of superior endowments. 
On the other hand, a college classmate (Thomas P. Devereux, 
Esq., of Halifax) and member of the same society, who knew 
him intimately throughout life, and was five and twenty years 
associated with him at the bar, affirms that " he was beyond 
dispute the first boy of his class, composed of seventy individ- 
uals, many of them afterwards distinguished men." He was 
not, says this friend, " a hard student of the prescribed course. 
Perhaps I ought to add that he was remiss in his college duties, 
but he was eager for information to a most wonderful degree, 
and among his fellow-students he exhibited the same intel- 
lectual superiority we have seen him so steadily maintain 
among men." To the same source I am indebted for the fol- 
lowing observations concerning his elocution, which I repeat 
for the advantage and encouragement of the young. " I 
think," he remarks, " that the thousands who listened to the 
fluency with which Mr. Badger spoke, the clearness of his 
enunciation, the exact accuracy of his sentences and the care- 
fulness of their formation the right words always in the 
right places will be surprised to learn that in his youthful 
attempts in debate he was almost a stammerer. I have heard 
him say he owed exemption from dmvn right stuttering to 
his father, whom he remembered with affection, though under 
five years of age at the time of his decease, who would not 
permit him to speak while he hesitated in the least, but re- 
quired him to stand by his side perfectly silent, until he had 
collected himself and arranged his thoughts. He, himself, 
often asserted that any one could speak fluently who thought 
clearly and did not lose his presence of mind." 

He made known to President Dwight the reception of the 


letter announcing the withdrawal of the patronage by which 
he had been thus far supported, and the res angusta domi 
which caused him to bid adieu to Yale when reaching the 
portion of her curriculum by which his expanding mind would 
have been most profited, and left with the regrets and kind 
wishes of that venerable divine and instructor. In after years 
when he had established a character, his alma mater honored 
herself by volunteering a degree to her barely risen junior, 
and enrolling his name among her sons with whom he should 
have graduated in 1813, as, at a later period, she acknowledged 
his still higher advancement in liberal learning, by conferring 
upon him the degree of Doctor of Laws. 

He appears to have indulged in no unavailing grief at tin- 
freak of fortune which blasted his hopes of a collegiate educa- 
tion, but returning home, though but little over seventeen 
years of age, betook himself at once to the study of the law. 
ITis legal preceptor was his maternal cousin, Hon. John 
Stanly, of jSTew Born, who as an advocate, a -tafesman, a parlia- 
mentarian, a wit and adept in conversation, is one of the his- 
torical characters of North Carolina; and, who, viewing him 
as I did, from the gallery of the House of Commons in my 
boyhood, impressed me as an orator of more graceful and 
elegant manner and action, according to my conception of the 
Ciceronian standard, than any public speaker it has ever been 
n iy fortune to hear. 

Mr. Badger was granted a license to practice law in the 
County Courts in the summer of 1814, and, according To the 
usual probation, in the Superior Courts in 1815; the Judges 
of the Supreme Court consenting to relax the ordinary rule 
and overlook his nonage, by reason of the narrowness of his 
fortune and the dependence of his mother and sisters upon 
his exertions for their support. The war with England raging 
in the former year, and an invasion of the State being threat- 
ened b.y the British forces under Admiral Cockburn, then 
hovering on our coasts, Governor Hawkins called out the 
militia, and himself took the field, in an expedition for the 
defense of ISTew Bern and Beaufort. In this expedition Mr. 
Badger served as aid-de-camp to General Calvin Jones, of 
TYake, with rank of major; but the alarm soon ceasing, with 


the retirement of the enemy the soldier was again resolved into 
the youthful barrister. A vacancy occurring in the office of 
solicitor to prosecute the pleas of the State in that riding, 
about this time, he was introduced to public notice by the tem- 
porary appointment from the judge, and made one circuit in 
that capacity. 

In 1816, the year of his majority, he was returned a mem- 
ber of the House of Commons from the town of New Bern; 
and whatever advantages he may have lost by his retirement 
from college (and they were doubtless many and important), 
it may well be questioned whether any of the more fortunate 
youths he had left behind in the classic shades of Yale were, 
by this time, better fitted to play a distinguished part in a 
deliberative assembly or a court of justice. Profiting by the 
instruction, the conversation, the intercourse, and the exam- 
ple of that accomplished gentleman, Mr. Stanly, and his 
compeers, Gaston, Edward Graham, Moses Mordecai, and 
others, whom he met at the bar or in society, but above all 
by his own profound study, he not only gained great attain- 
ments in the law, but (what is now I fear becoming rare), a 
familiar acquaintance with the classic authors of English lit- 
erature, and with the arts of rhetoric and composition. He 
wrote and spoke our language with a readiness, force, precis- 
ion, and propriety, the more remarkable because equally as 
conspicuous in jocose and trifling conversation (in which he 
freely indulged) as in public address. As a critic, whether 
under the inspiration of a " good or bad natured muse," he 
has had few peers among the judges of " English undefiled." 
His appearance in the Legislature was the advent of a new 
star above the horizon, somewhat erratic and peculiar in its 
orbit, but effulgent even in its irregularities, and shining with 
a splendor not unworthy of the oldest and greatest lights of 
the firmament. 

Tradition furnishes anecdotes of many encounters, during 
the session, of gladiatorial skill, in which his love of pleas- 
antry and the gaudia certaminis involved him with the late 
Attorney-General Drew, a son of genius and of Erin, and 
others, with various success : but it assures us that this, his first 
and last session in the General Assembly, closed with a pro- 


found impression and universal acknowledgment of his genius, 
culture, and high promise for the future. 

The lion. Thomas Ivuftin, the speaker of the House of Com- 
mons, who had been first appointed a judge of the Superior 
Court during this session, discovering in Mr. Badger a con- 
genial spirit, alike emulous with himself of liberal culture and 
professional distinction, invited him to take his briefs and 
pursue the practice in Orange. The acceptance of this propo- 
sition carried him to Jlillsborough as his place of residence 
for the next two or three years, during which, having married 
the daughter of Hon. James Turner, of Warren, he trans- 
ferred his home to Warrenton; thence he moved to Louis- 
burg 1 , where he continued to reside until his retirement from 
the bench in 1825, when he removed to Raleigh, and there 
abode during the residue of his life. 

How well he maintained his professional character in the 
new field of his practice is observed in the fact that, with 
but little of what is known as personal popularity, he was 
elected a judge of the Superior Court by the Legislature in 
its session of 1820, at the age of twenty-five. In this office 
he rode the circuits four years with admitted ability, candor 
and impartiality, evading no question and no duty; but he 
was sometimes thought to en* from quickness of temper and 
too great readiness to assume responsibility. His courtesy 
to the profession won him general esteem. The people, 
though sometimes murmuring at the severity of a sentence 
or a supposed arbitrary or whimsical order, regarded with 
equal wonder the promptness and force with which he dis- 
cussed questions of law with the veterans of the bar, and the 
intelligent, amusing and instructive conversation with which 
he habitually entertained his acquaintances and associates. 

I mention a single case in his administration of the law as 
illustrative both of the firm and impartial hand with which 
he dealt out justice and the jealous care with which the judi- 
ciary of North Carolina has ever protected and maintained the 
rights of the weak against the strong and influential. A 
citizen of great fortune, and advanced age, who had repre- 
sented his county in earlier years in both Houses of the Legis- 
lature, having also numerous and influential connections, 


charged a free-negro with larceny of his property, had him 
brought by warrant before a justice of the peace, prevailed 
on the justice to try and convict him of the offense charged, 
and to sentence him to punishment by stripes, which were 
inflicted- a proceeding allowable by law, provided the 
offender had been a slave. But here the culprit was a free- 
man, and by the Constitution entitled to public trial in open 
court before a jury of the country: The prosecutor, with 
the justice and constable, was arraigned before the Superior 
Court for this violation of law, and their guilt being estab- 
lished, Judge Badger, who happened to preside at this term, 
was strongly inclined to imprison the principal defendant, and 
was only deterred by reason of his (said defendant's) age and 
state of health; but, announcing that this was omitted from 
that cause only, sentenced him to a fine of twelve hundred 
dollars, the justice of the peace to fifty, and the constable to 
ten dollars, the differences being made on account of their 
several grades of intelligence and consequent criminality, as 
well as of ability to pay. 

From the time of his return to the bar and location at 
Raleigh, until the access of disease which suddenly, and, as 
it proved, finally arrested his course, he devoted his time to 
the practice of his profession, with the exception of a few 
months, occasioned by his appointment by Harrison and his 
continuation by Tyler as Secretary of the Navy, and such 
further interruption as was produced by his occupation of a 
seat in the Senate of the United States from 1846 to 1855. 
During his forensic career he was, at different times, proposed 
by executive nomination for the bench of the Supreme Court, 
both of his own State and of the United States ; but the spirit 
of party exacted a denial of his confirmation, though no man 
doubted his eminent qualification. 

If it be true, as remarked by Pinkney, in one of his familiar 
letters, published by Wheaton, that " the bar is not a place to 
acquire or preserve a false or a fraudulent reputation for 
talents," it was eminently so in his case. He had an intrepid 
and self-reliant mind, which, disdaining artifice, timidity or 
caution, struck out into the open field of controversy with the 
daring of conscious power, and shunned no adversary not clad 


in the panoply of truth; was as ready to challenge the 
authority of .Mansfield or Dennian, Ko-yln or Kldon, it' found 
deflecting from the paths of principle or precedent, as that of 
meaner names. If, from want of opportunity or inclination, 
he had failed to master the mathematics of numbers, he made 
himself proficient in the mathematics of life (as our law, from 
the exactness of rule at which it aims, has been not inaptly 
denominated), and by a rigorous logic was prompt to expose 
whatever could not bear the test of reason. Yet, it was a 
logic free from the pedantry of the schools, apparently not 
derived from books, and accompanied by a rapidity of mental 
action, which gave to it the appearance of intuition. Whether 
in analysis or synthetical reasoning, in dealing with facts 
before juries or the most intricate questions of law before 
courts, these faculties were equally conspicuous, and attended, 
when occasion called for their use, with powers of humor, 
sarcasm, and ridicule hardly inferior to those of ratiocination. 
Added to all this, there was a lucidness of arrangement, an 
exact grammatical accuracy in every sentence, a forcible and 
graceful style which, independent of a clear and distinct enun- 
ciation, a melodious voice and engaging manner, imparted 
even to his extemporaneous arguments the charms of polished 

On one occasion, in a case of indictment for blasphemy, the 
question had been raised whether the Christian religion was 
a part of the common law, with a suggestion that if it was, it 
might be altered by statute, Mr. Badger volunteered an argu- 
ment for the cause of religion and sound morality. It so 
happened that, as he opened his case, a venerable citizen of 
the State, of great intelligence, entered the court-room to 
speak a word to the reporter, expecting immediately to retire. 
He was, however, so fascinated with the manner of the 
speaker, the splendor of his diction, the copiousness of his theo- 
logical and legal learning, the force and clearness of his argu- 
ments and the precision with which they were stated, that he 
sat down and heard him to the close, observing, as he with- 
drew, "what folly ever to have made him a judge, he ought 
to have been a bishop." 

Literature, whose office it is to preserve the results of learn- 


ing, knowledge, and fancy, lias made so little progress among 
us that there has not been much effort to save from oblivion 
the discussions at the bar or in the deliberative assemblies of 
the State the chief theatres .of public intellectual exertion 
besides the pulpit. Had Mr. Badger been studious of posthu- 
mous fame and bestowed half the time in reporting his 
speeches in the more important of his causes on the circuit, 
which Cicero recommended and practiced in the preparation 
of his orations, the result would have been a most interesting 
contribution to American rhetorical literature. There are 
occasions enough within the recollection of many, who were 
present, in Wake, Orange, Granville, Halifax, and elsewhere, 
when his utterances, even if printed as delivered, would have 
formed a volume of no less interest than the speeches of Wirt 
or Emmet, 'Erskine or Curran, as well as afforded insight into 
events, crimes, transactions of business, and the state of society 
of our times, such as the muse of history derives from the 
records of courts of justice. 

Two causes in the Circuit Court of the United States, in 
the days of Chief Justice Marshall, are especially remembered 
as being the themes of his most admired arguments, and in 
which he overcame the preconceived opinions of the great 
Judge, though impressed and supported by the acknowledged 
abilities, learning and persuasiveness of Gaston. These were 
the cases of Whitaker vs. Freeman, an action for libel in 
twenty-five different counts, and Lattimervs. Poteat, one of 
a series of cases in ejectment, to recover immense bodies of 
land in the western counties, claimed by the citizens of North- 
ern States under purchases from speculators who, it was 
alleged, had made their entries and procured grants before 
the extinction of the title of the Cherokee Indians, in viola- 
tion of law; the defendants claiming under grants from the 
State made after the admitted cession of the Indian title; and 
Mr. Badger was retained by the State to defend their inter- 
ests. This latter case, involving the relations of North Caro- 
lina while a separate sovereignty, and afterwards of the United 
States with the Cherokee Indians, as regulated by sundry 
treaties, the location of several lines of partition between them 
and the whites, but removed further and further west as 


the population of the superior race increased and emigra- 
tion advanced, surveys partially or wholly made to establish 
these lines through a mountainous, and in many parts, an im- 
pervious country, imputed frauds in transgressing those lines 
and entries without actual survey, was of exceeding volume 
and complication in its facts, and occupied a week in the trial. 
The argument, running through four days, was said to be the 
most elaborate on both sides ever made in the State in a jury 
trial. It resulted in a verdict and judgment for the defend- 
ants, which was afterwards affirmed by the Supreme Court 
of the United States. After the trial, Judge Marshall, in the 
simplicity and candor of his great character, observed to the 
then Governor of the State, "At the close of Mr. Gastoifs 
opening argument, I thought he had as good a case as I ever 
saw put to a jury, but Mr. Badger had not spoken two hours 
before he satisfied me that no one of his [Gaston's] positions 
could be maintained." 

To this instance of laudatus a laudato viro I deem it not 
improper to add a few others from sources only less eminent: 
Chief Justice Henderson declared in my presence that "To 
take up a string of cases, run through them, extract the prin- 
ciple contained in each, and discriminate the points in which 
they differed from each other, or from the case in hand, I 
have never seen a man equal to George Badger." 

Judge Seawell remarked of him: " Badger is an elementary 
man," and, continuing in his peculiar and racy style, "he 
goes to first principles; he finds the corners of his survey and 
then runs out the boundaries, while others hunt along the 
lines. The difference between him and myself is, that when 
I take up a book I read slowly,, pausing at the end of each 
sentence, and when I have reached the bottom of the page I 
must stop and go back to see whether I fully comprehend the 
author's meaning, while he reads it off like a novel, and by the 
time he gets to the bottom of the page or the end of the 
treatise he has in his mind not only all that the author has 
taught, but a great deal that the author never knew." 

Chief Justice Ruffin, yet surviving in honorable retirement 
from the labors of the profession, whose early appreciation of 
the faculties of Mr. Badger we have already noticed, and be- 


fore whom as a Judge of the Supreme Court, he was in full 
practice for twenty-three years, affirmed to me, since the 
death of Mr. Badger, that in dialectic skill and argument he 
excelled any individual with whom he had ever been 
acquainted, not even excepting Chief Justice Marshall him- 
self, for that he possessed the faculty of imagination and the 
capacity for illustration which Judge Marshall had not. 

To his hospitality and kind intercourse with gentlemen of 
the profession, his liberality and assistance to its junior mem- 
bers (whom his gracious demeanor and familiar manners won, 
no less than his spirited and intelligent conversation enter- 
tained and improved), to his unselfish and genial nature, and 
an integrity on which no temptation ever brought a stain, 
the occasion permits time only to allude before closing our 
view of his professional life. Had he been called to the office 
of Attorney-General of the United States by General Jackson 
at the period of his first election (of which Mr. Badger had 
been an ardent and efficient advocate), as many of his friends 
entertained expectation, and had continued from that time his 
practice in the Supreme Court of the United States, it is haz- 
arding but little to say that his fame would have equaled that 
of any advocate in the history of American jurisprudence. 

Of Mr. Badger's brief service at the head of the Navy De- 
partment excepting his recommendation of the establishment 
of a home squadron to patrol the Gulf of Mexico and West 
Indian seas, as a protection against piracy or any sudden hostile 
demonstration on our coasts (a measure since adopted) there 
is no circumstance demanding especial notice. He had ac- 
cepted the appointment at the request of President Harrison 
with reluctance, retained it by the expressed desire of his 
successor, and resigned it as soon as the breach between Mr. 
Tyler and the party that elected him was found to be irrepa- 

Equally unsought and unexpected was his election to the 
Senate of the United States when absent from the seat of gov- 
ernment on a professional errand beyond the sphere of his 
usual practice. He entered the Senate in the first year of the 
war with Mexico and held his seat throughout the struggle 
which ensued over the introduction of slavery into the Terri- 


tories acquired by the treaty of peace, a struggle which was 
then threatening the dissolution of the Union; he held his 
seat during the compromise measures of 1850, under the 
leadership of Clay; the election of General Taylor; the suc- 
cession of Fillmore; the election of Pierce and the first half 
of his term, including the organization of territorial govern- 
ment in Kansas and Xebraska, a period of more fierce, con- 
vulsive and (as the sequel has proved) fatal party agitation 
than any in American history except the years that have suc- 
ceeded it. Even now, after the dreadful chastening that all 
have received from recent calamity, it is difficult to recur 
to it without reviving passions inconsistent with the solemni- 
ties of the hour and the charities inspired by common suf- 

In this struggle it was maintained on the one hand that 
inasmuch as these acquisitions of territory had been made by 
the common contribution of men and means from all the 
States, the citizens of any State were at liberty to emigrate 
and settle upon them, and to carry any property they might 
possess, including slaves; that this was the case by virtue of 
the operation of the Constitution over the new territory 
proprio rigore. It was further declared that Congress had no 
authority to legislate in contravention of this right; and, in 
the progress of the dispute, this latter position was extended 
into the assumption that it was the duty of Congress to enact 
Ia\vs to ensure it, and that a failure in this was a breach of 
Constitutional duty so gross as to justify the injured States 
in withdrawing from the Union, a power which, it was de- 
elared, every State held in reservation, and might exercise 
at pleasure, the Constitution being but a compact having no 
sanctions for its perpetuation. On the other hand, there had 
IK 'en for years at the North a party organization, not numer- 
-QUS at first, but which at this period had swollen into a for- 
midable power, whose avowed object was the extinction of 
slavery; which had denounced the Constitution, so far as it 
upheld or tolerated it, as a covenant with the infernal powers; 
had absolved themselves from its maintenance in this par- 
ticular, and avowed their preference for a disruption of the 
Union unless slavery should be abolished in the Territories 


and States as well. More moderate men in that section, while 
not agreeing with these extremists, denied emphatically either 
that the Constitution gave to slavery a footing in the Terri- 
tories or bound ( 'ongress to maintain, or riot interfere with, 
its existence there; and that in the exercise of a legislative 
discretion they might encourage, tolerate or forbid it; the 
great majority favoring its prohibition in the Territories, 
while they held themselves bound to non-interference in the 

In this conflict a third party arose, which affirmed that Con- 
gress had no power over the question in the Territories; that 
the people who settled in those distant regions were entitled 
(not only when applying for admission into the Union as a 
State, but whenever organized into a Territory, or at any 
time thereafter) to determine on the establishment or rejection 
of slavery as well as all other questions of domestic policy; 
and by consequence, that the whole history of the Government 
in the regulation of its Territories had been an error. 

Either of the contending parties was accustomed to tolerate 
very considerable aberrations, and even heresies against its 
creed, to acquire or preserve party ascendancy, or to achieve 
success in a Presidential election; to which latter object no 
concessions and no sacrifices were deemed excessive. And the 
flame on the main topic was probably fanned by many, on 
both sides, with a view to the marshalling of forces for this 
quadrennial contest for power and patronage. Be this as it 
may, never were themes presented for sectional parties so well 
adapted to deepen and widen the opened breach between them, 
or pressed with more intensity or zeal. In the ardor of the 
contest, old landmarks were discarded and old friends repudi- 
ated, if not found in accordance with new positions assumed 
in its progress. AVilliam Pinkney, the great champion of 
Southern interests, at the period of the Missouri question, was 
pronounced an abolitionist on the floor of the Senate by the 
highest Southern authority, and the doors of Faneuil Hall 
were closed against Daniel AVebster by the authorities of 
Boston, for words of truth, soberness, and conciliation, spoken 
in the Senate; and this while Clay (once so much deferred to 
by them as a party leader) sat by, admiring and encouraging 
every sentence Webster uttered. 


Between these excited parties, Mr. I ladder ,-tood approved 
by neither. As far hack as the Mexican war, perceiving, as 
lie thought, the dangers to flow from the adjustment of the 
interests of slavery, provided compie-is ,-hmdd lie made and 
new territories acquired, he had repeatedly endeavored to 
bring the war to a close and to liar out those dangers to the 
Union, by abstaining from the acquisition of new domains, 
while the fierce contestants were both eager for exteu-ive con- 
quests the one with the flattering, but delusive, hope of ex- 
panding the area of slavery, the other with the settled purpose 
to apply to all such conquests the Wilmot Proviso and to 
exclude slavery. 

When peace came with those splendid acquisitions of terri- 
tory, so gratifying to the national pride, he was not disap- 
pointed in discovering in them an apple of discord which was 
to prove fatal to tranquillity at home. In the contention 
which was thus inaugurated, he steadily supported the rights 
of his own section, maintaining the justice and expediency of 
opening the Territories to all emigrants, without restriction 
as to any species of property. In an argument, replete with 
scriptural learning, he defended the servitude existing in the 
South, under the name of slavery, as not inconsistent with the 
divine law, more than justified by Jewish precedents, and 
not forbidden by the benignant teachings of the Saviour of 
the world, who found in the Roman Empire, at His coming, 
and left without condemnation, a system of far greater sever- 
ity. He reminded Northern Senators of the responsibility 
of their ancestors for the introduction and establishment- of 
slavery in this country ours being but pun-ha-i r- from them. 
at second hand, for a consideration vastly greater than they 
had paid; the profits being the foundation of much of their 
wealth, which their consciences did not forbid them to retain. 
He brought home to their sense of duty and of honor the 
obligation to maintain the Constitution, so long as it remained 
the Constitution, in all its parts, as well those which, as indi- 
viduals, they disapproved as those to which they assented. 
If any representative of the South urged any or all of the-e 
considerations in favor of the rights of his section, with more 
earnestness and ability than Mr. Badger, it is some one whose 


argument has not fallen under my observation. But he re- 
fused to go further. He refused to argue that Congress had 
no constitutional power to legislate on the subject of slavery 
in the Territories. He discussed the question with boldness, 
and adduced a decision of the Supreme Court, announced in 
an opinion of Judge Marshall, to the effect that the power did 
exist; and therefore, he addressed his appeals to the legislative 
discretion of Congress. For this he incurred the disapproba- 
tion of the extreme advocates of Southern interests. But his 
opinion on the question had been deliberately formed, and 
though lie maintained that the exclusion of the Southern 
emigrant with his peculiar property from these Territories 
would be an unjust exercise and abuse of power, he de- 
clined to make what he believed to be a false issue, in pro- 
nouncing it unconstitutional. He dealt with the whole sub- 
ject in the interest of peace, in subordination to the Constitu- 
tion, in the hope of allaying excitement, and with an earnest 
desire for continued Union. He therefore gladly co-operated 
with his old political associates, Clay, AYebster, Pearce of 
Maryland, Bell, Mangum, Berrien, Dawson, as well as his 
Democratic opponents, Cass, Douglas, Dickinson, Foote and 
other compatriots of both parties, in the well-remembered 
measures of the Compromise of 1850, which calmed the waves 
of agitation, and promised a lasting repose from this disturb- 
ing element an effect which was fully realized, with an 
occasional exception of resistance to the law providing for the 
surrender of fugitive slaves until the unfortunate revival of 
the quarrel by the repeal, in 1854 (in the law for the organi- 
zation of the Territories of Kansas and Nebraska) of the 
provision of the Missouri Compromise, by which slavery was 
restricted from extending north of thirty-six degrees thirty 
minutes, the southern boundary of Missouri. His participa- 
tion in this measure of repeal, Mr. Badger regarded as the 
most serious error of his public life. He lived to see conse- 
quences flow from it which he had not contemplated, and pub- 
licly expressed his regret that he had given it his support. 
Not on the ground of any breach of faith, for, as he amply 
demonstrated in his speech on the passage of the measure, the 
Representatives of the North in Congress had, in the Oregon 


Territorial hill, as well as in other instances, demonstrated 

that they attached to it no sanctity. Yet many good men 
among their constituents did and politicians who had, since 
the settlement of 1850, found " their occupation gone," 
eagerly welcomed this new theme for agitation. The experi- 
ence of climate, labor, and production, had shown that African 
slavery could not be attended with profit north of this parallel, 
and the repeal was regarded as a flout, defiance, and aggres- 
sion which provoked the resentment of thousands who had 
never before co-operated with that extreme faction which con- 
spired the destruction of slavery in despite of the Constitution. 
Followed up as this measure was by the impotent attempt to 
enforce protection to the institution in Kansas, where it 
neither did, nor could exist without unreasonable aid (which 
attempt was made after Mr. Badger left the Senate, and in 
which there is no reason to believe he would have concurred), 
it aroused an opposition, which, when embodied in the organi- 
zation of party, was irresistible. He was no propagandist of 
slavery, though all the affections of his home and heart sec- 
onded the efforts of his great mind in defending it as an insti- 
tution of the country recognized and guaranteed by the Con- 
stitution of the United States. He was too sagacious to 
believe it could be benefited in any way by provoking the 
shock of civil war, and too truthful and patriotic to trifle with 
it as a means of rallying parties or subserving any of the 
interests of faction. In voting for the repeal of the Mis- 
souri restriction, he looked upon it as having been overvalued 
in its practical importance at first, abandoned by the North as 
effete, if not disregarded from the beginning, and its removal 
out of the way as but conforming the system of territorial 
law to that part of the Compromise of 1850 pertaining to the 
Territories, which left the adoption or rejection of slavery to 
be decided by the inhabitants when framing a constitution, 
preparatory to their admission as a State of the Union; not 
anticipating the recoil in public sentiment, which was the 
first step in the overthrow of slavery itself. 

I have been thus tedious in the review of the history of 
this period because it was upon topics arising out of this 
great subject of controversy, ever uppermost in the public 


mind, that Mr. Badger made his most frequent and probably 
most elaborate efforts in the Senate, and for the further reason 
that in the heated atmosphere of the time his opinions as 
expressed and the moderation of his course were, by some, 
supposed to imply indifference to the interests of his section. 
Time and disaster are not im frequently necessary to vindicate 
true wisdom. 

He was as averse to the details of revenue and finance as 
Charles James Fox, and could probably have united with that 
statesman in the declaration that he had never read a treatise 
on political economy. But on all subjects pertaining to gen- 
eral policy, or to the history, jurisprudence, or Constitution 
of the country, he commanded a deference yielded to scarcely 
any other individual, after the withdrawal of Mr. "Webster; 
and as a speaker and writer of English, according to the testi- 
mony of Judge Butler, of South Carolina, he had no peer in 
the Senate, save Webster. 

He delighted in repeating the rule for the construction of 
the Constitution, which he had heard enunciated by Judge 
Marshall in the Circuit Court for North Carolina. " The 
Constitution of the United States," said he, " is to be con- 
strued not strictly, not loosely, but honestly. The powers 
granted should be freely exercised to effect the objects of the 
grant, while there should be a careful abstinence from the 
assumption of any not granted, but reserved." "With this 
simple rule for his guide, with an innate love of truth and 
wonderful perspicacity in its discernment, with an ethics which 
permitted no paltering in deference to the authority or sug- 
gestion of faction, his arguments on constitutional questions 
were models of moral demonstration. Such was the confi- 
dence reposed in his accuracy and candor on questions of this 
nature, that his opinions were sought, for practical guidance, 
alike by friends and opponents. And such was the personal 
favor and kindness entertained towards him by all his asso- 
ciates that at the expiration of his term the rare compliment 
was paid him of expressing regret at his departure by an 
unanimous vote of the Senate. 

After ceasing to be a Senator he held, until the commence- 
ment of the late calamitous war, the place of one of the He- 


gents of the Smithsonian Institution. In his professional 
visits to Washington, until the interruption of intercourse by 
that dire event, and in all his correspondence with public men, 
he never departed from that course of moderation and peace 
on the exciting subject of the times which had characterized 
him as a Senator, joined heartily in the movement of his old 
Whig friends for the organization of a Constitutional Union 
party to abate the violence of faction which was too surely 
tending to disunion, and to make an appeal to the people to 
rescue the country from the impending peril. The result of 
this movement was the nomination of Bell and Everett for 
the first offices of the government; and Mr. Badger accepted 
the nomination for Elector on this ticket, and visited vari- 
ous parts of North Carolina, addressing the people in its 
support. In these addresses, with the frankness which be- 
longed to his nature, he freely admitted that there was a strong 
probability of the election of Mr. Lincoln, not merely from 
a division of votes among three other candidates, but from the 
strength of his party in the Northern States, founded on the 
principle of opposition to slavery ; and he charged, that in that 
event, it was the design of a large portion of the supporters of 
Mr. Breckinridge to attempt to destroy the Union by the 
secession of the Southern States, and that there was reason 
to believe his defeat and the election of Mr. Lincoln were 
desired by this latter class, because of the opportunity it would 
afford for a dissolution of the Union, a purpose which they 
had long cherished. While, therefore, he advocated the elec- 
tion of Mr. Bell, he conjured the people, no matter who 
might be elected, to acquiesce in the decision and give no 
countenance to secession. Although, with the exception of a 
small faction, the people were averse to disunion, the majority 
were persuaded that this was an overstatement of the case, 
and cast their votes for Mr. Breckinridge, as they usually did 
for the party nominee. 

When the election was past, and the proceedings which 
immediately followed in other States verified Mr. Badger's 
anticipations, the people began to turn to him, and those of 
like opinions, for guidance in the future. And, to persons 
in distant parts of the Union, it is, no doubt, a matter of mys- 


tery how he, with all his antecedents in favor of Union, be- 
came involved in war against the Government of the United 
States. The case of Mr. Badger, in this particular, is the 
case of at least three-fourths of the people of the State (for 
they relied upon his counsels for their action quite as much as 
upon those of any other individual) and requires a word of 
explanation. Notwithstanding the long and acrimonious dis- 
putations which had been carried on in Congress and at the 
hustings, and the sentiments declared in opposition to slavery 
by Mr. Lincoln and his supporters, Mr. Badger maintained 
that his election afforded no sufficient cause for a resort to rev- 
olution as to the right, claimed, of a State to secede, he had 
never for a moment believed in it or given it the least coun- 
tenance that the accession of such a party to power would 
require increased vigilance over the rights and interests "of the 
South; but that the majority in Congress was not lost to us, 
if the members from all the Southern States would remain 
and be faithful, and that the judiciary was open to any just 
complaint, even if the Executive should attempt aggression. 
After every State south of North Carolina to the confines of 
Mexico had adopted ordinances of secession, the people of this 
State rejected a proposition to call a convention to consider 
the question. 

But when Virginia, our neighbor on the northern frontier, 
also withdrew, and Tennessee on the west had taken measures 
for the same object, when war had been actually begun, no 
matter by whose rashness or folly, and the only alternatives 
presented were in the choice of the side we should espouse, 
considerations of national or State interest, safety and neces- 
sity (such as are not unfrequently forced upon the decision of 
neutrals by the conduct of belligerents not connected under 
the same government.) at once occurred, and were obliged to 
be weighed with the obligations of constitutional duty. Our 
borders were surrounded on all sides, except that washed by 
the ocean, by seceded States. Our youth must go forth to 
battle with or against these States. The Union we had so long 
and so sincerely cherished, was a Union in its integrity; and 
next to that, and as a part of it, was a Union with neighboring 
States, in which were our kindred and most intimate friends, 

GEOKCiK E. ISA I MiK I!.. - ( 1 

and identical institutions. Shivery, whatever may lie thought 
of it elsewhere or now, constituted more than one-half of our 
individual and public wealth. It had paid our taxes, built 
our railroads, reared our seminaries of education and charity, 
and was intimately connected with the order and repose of 
our society. Withal, in the acrimony of a long quarrel, its 
maintenance had become a point of honor. In the actual 
posture of affairs, which promised to continue while the war 
lasted, instead of fifteen States in which slavery existed, whose 
Representatives were to maintain a common interest in the 
halls of Congress, there were to be but three, or at most, four, 
and all these, except our own, with a minor interest in the 
svstem. A civil war which threatened to be sanguinary and 
protracted, kindled avowedly for the protection of slavery, was 
not likely to end in the defeat of the insurgent States without 
the destruction of the institution in them, and after no long 
time, in the adhering States, also. Though far from approv- 
ing the course of the recusant States, victory on the side of 
those who held the reins of government could not inure in 
benefit, nor without serious disaster, to us. 

These ties of blood, vicinity, institutions and interests, the 
desire to avoid internecine strife among our own people (which 
must have been immediately precipitated by a zealous 
minority, with the local government, legislative and execu- 
tive, in their hands) impelled Mr. Badger, and those who 
acted with him, to decline to take up arms against their own 
section in favor of the distant authority of the national gov- 
ernment, and as a consequence to unite with those whose 
action they had deprecated and endeavored to prevent, and 
with whom they had had little sympathy or cooperation in 
the politics of the past. The support of the undertaking, if 
concurred in by all the slaveholding States, which was con- 
fidently represented to be certain, appeared to afford hope of 
a safer and better future than its suppression by force. The 
determination of the question, as I know, occasioned him 
pain and embarrassment, but when made it was firmly main- 
tained. He accepted a seat in the Convention which passed 
the ordinance declaring the separation of the State from the 
Federal Union, and gave to this ordinance his sanction; not, 


however, without a distinct declaration of his disbelief in the 
doctrine of secession as a constitutional right. lie also sus- 
tained measures for the prosecution of a vigorous war, as, in 
his conception, the surest and shortest way to peace, but was 
ever vigilant of the dignity and just rights of the State, the 
encroachments of the military authority, the jurisdiction of 
the civil tribunals and the protection and liberty of the citi- 
zens, lie sought no patronage or favor for himself or his 
family. His sons served in the ranks of the army and bore 
their part in the perils and adventures of war. 

While it yet raged, he was stricken by the hand of disease, 
which partially obscured his faculties and withdrew him from 
public view. He survived, however, until after the return of 
peace, and in the twilight of mind, with which he was yet 
favored, rejoiced in the deliverance of the country from the 
calamities of war, and very sincerely acquiesced in a return to 
his allegiance to the Government of the United States. 

These observations on the professional and public life of the 
subject of our sketch have been so prolonged that the occa- 
sion will permit but a few further remarks upon his general 
attainments, his intellectual and moral character and useful- 
ness as a citizen. It was the remark of Lord Bacon that 
" Reading makes a full man, conference a ready man, and 
writing an exact man." Yr. Badger's reading was con- 
fined, with the exception of the dead languages, which he 
had acquired in his youthful studies, to the literature of our 
own language. "\Vith the most approved authors in this he 
had a familiar acquaintance, and, as already remarked, excelled 
in the accomplishments of a critic. The field of learning, 
which next to jurisprudence he most affected, and perhaps 
even preferred to that, was moral science. Upon the sublime 
truths of this science, in the conversations with his friends, 
his remarks and illustrations were often not unworthy of Alex- 
ander or Wayland, Butler or Whately. " In it," says one of 
the most intimate of his friends and contemporaries, " the 
rapidity of his perception and accuracy of his deductions were 
marvelous. Place before his mind any proposition of moral 
science, and instantly he carried it out, either to exact truth, 
most beautifully enunciated, or reduced it to an absurdity." 


To his acquisitions in the kindred topic of didactic divinity, 
or theology as a science, only a professional theologian can do 
justice. An earnest member of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church, though but a layman, he ventured on more than one 
occasion to discuss matters of discipline and doctrine in the 
character of a pamphleteer, in opposition to clergymen of 
note, and in a memorable instance with the head of the dio- 
cese himself with such, signal success that, although the Bishop 
ultimately united himself with the Komish Church, whither 
Mr. Badger charged that he was tending, not another member 
of his denomination left its communion. 

He was averse to the labor of writing, and beyond an 
address before the Literary Societies of the University, the 
reports, by his own hand, of some of his speeches in Congress, 
and other pamphlets on subjects political or religious, has 
left few written performances. But he had the accuracy in 
thought and speech of a practiced writer. 

In conversation he realized in the fullest sense Bacon's idea 
of readiness, and shone with a lustre rarely equaled. The 
activity and playfulnesss of his thoughts and the gayety of his 
disposition inclined him to paradox and repartee to such a de- 
gree that his conversation was oftentimes but amusing levity. 
But in a moment it rose to the profoundest reflection and nm-t 
fascinating eloquence. His knowledge was ever at instanta- 
neous command, as it was far more the result of his own medi- 
tations than of acquisition from others, and fancy lent her 
aid in giving a grandeur to his conceptions on all the subjects 
of his grave discourse. After all the public displays in which 
he enchained the attention of judges, jurors, senators, and 
promiscuous assemblies with equal admiration and delight, it 
is a matter for doubt, among those who knew him well, 
whether his brightest thoughts and most felicitous utterances, 
the versatility of his genius, and the vast range of his con- 
templations were not ofteiier witnessed in his boon and social 
hours, in the converse of friends, around his own hospitable 
board, or at the village inn, or on a public highway all with- 
out pedantry or apparent effort, " as if he stooped to touch 
the loftiest thought " than in these elaborate and studied 
exhibitions. He affected no mystery, and wore no mask, and 


stood ready in familiar colloquy to make good, by new and 
apt illustrations, any sentiment advanced in formal argument, 
or to abandon it as untenable if satisfied of error. 

His reverence for truth, to which allusion has been already 
made in the course of these observations, was even above his 
intellectual powers, his most striking characteristic. He was 
accustomed to speak of it " as the most distinguished attri- 
bute of God himself, and the love of it as giving to one moral 
being an eminence above another." To its discovery he de- 
lighted to apply the powers of his remarkable intellect, to its 
influence he was ready to surrender his most cherished con- 
victions whenever found to be erroneous. 

The fruits of this were seen in the crowning virtues of his 
character: he was a Christian of humble and intelligent piety 
without intolerance toward others, a lawyer without chicanery 
or artifice, a statesman without being a factionist, a party 
man above the low arts of the demagogue, a gentleman and 
citizen enlightened, social, charitable, liberal, impressing his 
character upon the manners and morals of his times, ready to 
render aid in every good and noble work, and prompt to 
resist and repel any evil influence, no matter by what array 
of numbers, power or vitiated public opinion supported. I 
have known no man to whose moral courage may be more 
fitly applied the ideal of the Latin poet, as rendered in free 
translation : 

"The man whose mind on virtue bent, 
Pursues some greatly good intent 

With undiverted aim, 
Serene beholds the angry crowd, 
Nor can their clamors fierce and loud 

His stubborn honor tame. 
Not the proud tyrant's fiercest threat, 
Nor storms, that from their dark retreat 

The rolling surges wake ; 
Not Jove's dread bolt that shakes the pole, 
The firmer purpose of his soul 

With all its power can shake." 

In the latter years of his life, actuated by a desire to be 
useful in his day and generation, wherever opportunity and 
his ability might allow, he accepted the office of justice of the 


peace, an office which, to the honor of those who have filled it 
in North Carolina from the first organization of civil govern- 
ment until now, has ever been performed without pecuniary 
reward, and took considerable interest in administering justice 
in the County Courts of Wake, giving to this inferior tribunal 
the dignity and value of a Superior Court, to the great satis- 
faction of the bar and the public. 

He was thrice married; first, as before mentioned, to the 
daughter of Governor Turner; second, to the daughter of 
Colonel William Polk, and third, to Mrs. Delia, Williams, 
daughter of Sherwood Haywood, Esq., in each instance form- 
ing an alliance with an old family of the State, distinguished 
by public service and great personal worth from an early 
period. The last named lady, the worthy companion of his 
life for thirty years, who survives him as his widow, receives 
in her bereavement the condolence and sympathy, not merely 
of this community and State, but that of those in distant lands 
and in other States of the Union whom, not the lapse of years 
nor the excitement of intervening events, nor the fiery gulf 
of civil war shall separate from a friendship accorded to her 
and her departed husband, as representatives of the personal 
character, the society and domestic virtues of their native 
State in better days of the republic. By the two latter mar- 
riages he left numerous descendants. 

While taking his accustomed walk at an early hour in the 
morning of January 5, 1863, he was prostrated by a paralytic 
stroke, near the mineral spring in the environs of the city of 
Raleigh, and although retaining his self-possession and ability 
to converse until assistance was kindly furnished, on the way 
home his mind wandered, and before reaching his residence 
his faculty of continuous speech deserted him, never again to 
return. His mental powers after a brief interval rallied, inso- 
much that he took pleasure in reading and in listening to the 
conversations of friends, whose visits afforded him much satis- 
faction; and, with assistance, he could walk for exercise in the 
open air; but was never afterwards able to command lan- 
guage, except for brief sentences, failing often in these to 
convey his full meaning. In this condition he lingered until 
the llth of May, IS 00, when, after a few days' illness from 


renewed attacks of the same nature, he expired, having rec- 
ently completed his seventy-first year. 

My task is done. I have endeavored but " to hold the mir- 
ror up to nature." If the image reflected appears, in any of 
its features, magnified, it was not so intended. Yet the 
memory of a friendship, dating back to kind offices and notice 
in my student-life, extending through all my active man- 
hood, may not have been without its influence in giving color 
to the picture. But the character in our contemplation was 
of no ordinary proportions. At the bar of the State he wore 
the mantle of Gaston and Archibald Henderson for a much 
longer period than either, worthily and well, with no diminu- 
tion of its honors. In the highest court of the Union he was the 
acknowledged compeer of Webster, Crittenden, Ewing, John- 
son, Berrien, Walker and Gushing". That he did not sit in 
the highest seat of justice in the State and nation, as pro- 
posed successively by the Executive of each, is imputable to 
no deficiency or unworthiness for the station, his adversaries 
being judges. In the Senate, when Clay, Webster, and Cal- 
houn still remained there, not to name others of scarcely 
inferior repute, he was among the foremost, upholding the 
rights of his own State and section with manliness and ability, 
but with candor, moderation, and true wisdom, which sought 
to harmonize conflicting elements and avert the calamities of 
civil strife. In morals he was inflexible, without stain or sus- 
picion of vice; in manners and social intercourse, genial, 
frank, hospitable, with colloquial powers to instruct, amuse, 
and fascinate alike, and " with a heart open as day to melting 
charity." The fame of such a man is a source of natural and 
just pride to the people of the State. This sentiment is that 
which the poet describes in the Englishman, when he sings 

"It is enough to satisfy the ambition of a private man, 
That Chatham's language was his mother tongue, 
And Wolfe's great name compatriot with his own." 

How much he will be missed as a member of the commu- 
nity, as the friend of order and law, religion and morality, 
as a professional man, counsellor, and advocate of unrivalled 
ability and reputation, as an intellectual and cultivated man. 


with armor 1 (right and powers ever at his command, presenting 
;i model for the emulation uf our iugeuiiou- youth, as a publie 
character, as adviser and true friend, but no flatterer of the 
people, and an unflinching supporter of their rights, wherever 
truth and duty might lead, time and experience may demon- 
strate. There is no public aspect, however, in which his loss 
is so much to be deplored as in the relation he bore to the past, 
and his probable efficiency in solving the problem of the day. 
Who so capable of interpreting the Constitution which forms 
our government, and the alleged laws of war by which it is 
claimed to be suspended or superseded, as that gifted mind 
and sincere nature, so trusted on these topics in former years, 
and so thoroughly imbued with the spirit and teachings of 
Marshall? "Who so deserving to be heard on the best means 
of pacification and reestablishment of order and right among 
thirty-five millions of freemen as he who, by his temperance, 
calmness, and intelligent constitutional opinions, in the com- 
mencement of our national difficulties, incurred the censure of 
many in our own section of country, without receiving the ap- 
probation of their adversaries? Who so fitted for the exposure 
and correction of error, of allaying the ignoble passions of 
hatred and revenge, and rekindling the national affections in- 
spired by a common and honorable history ? Who so skillful to 
remove the scales from the eyes that will not see, and who 
so wise and brave to rebuke the age of faction, threatening to 
realize the assertion of Mr. Fox, in his history of James II., 
that " the most dangerous of all revolutions is a restoration? ' 
To that good Being, in whose hands are the destinies of 
nations and individuals, by whose divine agency crooked paths 
are often made straight and issue granted out of all troubles, 
in ways not visible to human eyes, let us unite in commending 
every interest of our beloved country. 

The foregoing sketch, in the form of an address on the life 
and character of George E. Badger, was delivered in Raleigh, 
July 19, 1866, at the request of the Wake county bar. 
Though much of it is not strictly biographical, it is interesting 


on account of its distinguished author, as well as for giving 
us a view of the times and events discussed. 

The address delivered by Mr. Badger at the State Univer- 
sity in June, 1833, before the two Literary Societies, is said, 
by those who heard him on other occasions, not to afford a 
fair illustration of his great powers as a speaker. He was in 
fact never a florid orator, powerful to move the passions above 
reason, but his mind was so clear, his manner so unhesitating, 
his knowledge so great, his ilo\v of language so easy, his 
memory so accurate, and his presence so commanding that he 
was bound to make a powerful impression whenever he spoke 
to men in public or in private. 

He was not greatest as a statesman- he had his run in the 
technical learning of the law too long statesmen must be 

t_j o 

early and specially trained and educated in the business of 

He was too reserved, austere at times, and perhaps sensitive, 
ever to win the affections of men in the same proportion that 
his great talents commanded their respect and admiration. 

His short tribute to Judge Gaston, hereto subjoined, is val- 
uable for the purpose for which it was uttered, and as a fail- 
sample of his style, showing his choice of words, in easy com- 
mand, when occasion called them forth. Judge Gaston died 
in January, 1844, and, at the meeting held in honor of his 
memory, Mr. Badger said: "This meet ing of the members 
of the bar of the Supreme Court has learned with profound 
grief the melancholy and totally unexpected bereavement 
which the Court and the country have sustained in the death 
of the Hon. William Gaston. Struck down suddenly by the 
hand of God, in the midst of his judicial labors, dying as 
he had lived in the enlightened and devoted service of his 
country, endued by learning and adorned by eloquence with 
their choicest gifts, enobled by that pure integrity and firm 
and undeviating pursuit of right which only an ardent and 


animating religious faith, can bestow and adequately sustain, 
and endeared to the hearts of all that knew him by those 
virtues which diffuse over the social circle all that is cheerful, 
refined, and benevolent, he has left behind him a rare and 
happy memory,, dear alike to his brethren, his friends, and 
his country." 

Governor Graham undertakes to set forth Mr. Badger's 
reasons for finally favoring the secession of North Carolina 
from the Union, but the reader will see from the subjoined reso- 
lutions that it is best to allow Mr. Badger to speak for himself. 
He and the people of North Carolina then assumed as axio- 
matic that Lincoln's call for troops to invade the South was 
utterly without warrant of law. Strong as was the language 
of the resolutions, it was not strong enough to express the 
indignation of the people at Lincoln's usurping the authority 
to begin the war on his sole responsibility. jSTot mainly be- 
cause the institution of slavery was threatened, nor yet because 
we were wedged between seceding States, but because the 
people, as one man, believed that the most vital powers of a 
government of three departments had been violently seized 
by the Executive, that the seizure was supported by a con- 
spiracy of States, and that the Constitution and the Union of 
the fathers were already outraged and dismembered. 

The resolutions above alluded to, and a part of the speech 
delivered in the United States Senate, March 19, 1850, in- 
structive in themselves, are given also as specimens of Mr. 
Badger's style. 





Whereas, Abraham Lincoln, of Illinois, and Hannibal 
Hamlin, of Maine, were chosen President and Vice-President 
of the United States by a party in fact and avowedly entirely 
sectional in its organization, and hostile in its declared prin- 
ciples to the institutions of the Southern States of the Union, 
and thereupon certain Southern States did separate them- 
selves from the Union, and form another and independent 
government, under the name of ' The Confederate States of 
America ' ; and 

" Whereas, the people of North Carolina, though justly 
aggrieved by the evident tendency of this election and of 
these principles, did, nevertheless, abstain from adopting any 
such measures of separation, and, on the contrary, influenced 
by an ardent attachment to the Union and Constitution, which 
their fathers had transmitted to them, did remain in the said 
Union, loyally discharging all their duties under the Consti- 
tution, in the hope that what was threatening in public affairs 
might yield to the united efforts of patriotic men from every 
part of the nation, and by their efforts such guarantees for 
the security of our rights might be obtained as should restore 
confidence, renew alienated ties, and finally reunite all the 
States in a common bond of fraternal union ; meantime, cheer- 
fully and faithfully exerting whatever influence they pos- 
sessed for the accomplishment of this most desirable end ; and 

" Whereas, things being in this condition, and the people 
of this State indulging this hope, the said Abraham Lincoln, 
President of the United States did, on the fifteenth day of 
April, by his proclamation, call upon the States of the Union 
to furnish large bodies of troops to enable him, under the 
false pretense of executing the laws, to march an army into 
the seceded States with a view to their subjugation, under an 
arbitrary and military authority, there being no law of Con- 


gress authorizing such calling out of troops, and no consti- 
tutional right to use them, if called out, for the purpose in- 
tended by him; and 

" Whereas, this call for troops has been answered through- 
out the Northern, Northwestern, and Middle non-slaveholding 
States with enthusiastic readiness, and it is evident, from the 
tone of the entire press of those States and the open avowal 
of their public men, that it is the fixed purpose of the gov- 
ernments and people of those States to wage a cruel war 
against the seceded States, to destroy utterly the fairest por- 
tion of this continent, and reduce its inhabitants to absolute 
subjection and abject slavery; and 

" Whereas, in aid of these detestable plans and wicked 
measures, the said Lincoln, without any shadow of rightful 
authority, and in plain violation of the Constitution of the 
United States, has, by other proclamations, declared the ports 
of North Carolina, as well as all the other Atlantic and Gulf 
States under blockade, thus seeking to cut off our trade with 
all parts of the world; and 

" Whereas, since his accession to power, the whole conduct 
of said Lincoln has been marked by a succession of false, dis- 
ingenuous and treacherous acts and declarations, proving in- 
contestably that he is, at least in his dealings with Southern 
States and Southern men, devoid of faith and honor; and 

" Whereas, he is now governing by military rule alone, 
enlarging by new enlistments of men both the military and 
naval force, without any authority of law, having set aside all 
constitutional and legal restraints, and made all constitutional 
and legal rights dependent upon his mere pleasure and that 
of his military subordinates; and 

' Whereas, in all his unconstitutional, illegal and oppress- 
ive acts, in all his wicked and diabolical purposes, and in his 
present position of usurper and military dictator, he has been 
and is encouraged and supported by the great body of the 
people of the non-slaveholding States; 

' Therefore, this convention, now here assembled in the 
name and with the sovereign power of the people of North 
Carolina, doth, for the reasons aforesaid, and others, and in 
order to preserve the undoubted rights and liberties of the 


said people, hereby declare all connection of government be- 
tween this State and the United States of America dissolved 
and abrogated, and this State to be a free, sovereign, and inde- 
pendent State, owing no subordination, obedience, support or 
other duty to the said United States, their Constitution or 
authorities, anything in her ratification of said Constitution 
or of any amendment or amendments thereto to the contrary 
notwithstanding; and having full power to levy war, conclude 
peace, contract alliances, and to do all other acts and things 
which independent States may of right do, and appealing to 
the Supreme Governor of the world for the justice of our 
cause, and beseeching Him for his gracious help and blessing, 
we will, to the uttermost of our power and to the last extrem- 
ity, maintain, defend, and uphold this declaration.'' 



I concur entirely in what has so often been said on this 
floor that there can be no peaceable separation of this Union. 
From the very nature of the case, from the character of our 
institutions, from the character of our country, from the 
nature of the government itself, it is, in my judgment, impos- 
sible that there can be a peaceable separation of this Union. 
I5ut if there could be, I agree entirely with the honorable 
Senator from Kentucky, that the state of peace in which we 
should separate must be speedily ended, must terminate in 
intestine conflicts, in wars, which, from the nature of the case, 
could know no amicable termination, no permanent peace 
but, until the superiority of the one or the other side in 
the conflict should be completely established, would admit of 
nothing but hollow truces, in which each might breathe from 
past exertions, and make preparations for future conflicts. 

Sir, the idea of a separation of these States into distinct 
confederacies was thought of, and considered, and spoken of 
before the adoption of this Constitution. At the time that 
the question was before the American people, whether the 
Constitution proposed by the Convention should be adopted, 
it was then spoken of. It is probable yea, certain conse- 
quences were referred to by the writers of that admirable 
series of papers denominated the "Federalist"; and I beg 
the indulgence of the Senate while I read a very brief extract, 
conveying the views of those eminent men: 

"If these States should either be wholly disunited, or only 
united in partial confederacies, a man must be far gone in 
Utopian speculation who can seriously doubt that the subdivi- 
sions into which they might be thrown would have frequent 
and violent contests with each other. To presume a want of 
motives for such contests, as an argument against their exist- 
ence, would be to forget that men are ambitious, vindictive, 


and rapacious. To look for a continuation of harmony be- 
tween a number of independent, unconnected sovereignties, 
situated in the same neighborhood, would be to disregard the 
uniform course of human events, and to set at defiance the 
accumulated experience of ages." 

If this was a just view of the probable the certain re- 
sults of a separation of these States at that time, arid under 
the then existing circumstances, I pray you, sir, upon what, 
at the present day, can we found a 1 tetter hope? Then the 
States were fresh from the conflict of the Revolutionary war. 
Then, not only had they a lively remembrance of the con- 
test in which they had fought and in which they had gathered 
victory and honor together, but the leading men of that time 
were those choice spirits who had carried them through that 
recent conflict, who had established the independence of the 
country, and who exercised an influence in public affairs pro- 
portioned to their patriotism, their valor and their wisdom. 
Then they might have separated without the same causes of 
hostility and alienation which must exist in any separation 
of these States at the present day. If we separate now, we 
do it with feelings of mutual distrust and bitterness. We 
divide, not by common consent, as partners who can no 
longer carry on their joint business with mutual profit, each to 
pursue, for his own separate advantage, that course of busi- 
ness in which he thinks he can best succeed, but we part with 
the feelings of those who consider themselves mutually 
wronged. A sense of injustice and oppression rankles in the 
hearts of one portion of the new confederacies, and a sense 
in the other of defiance and indignity. 

Under such circumstances, " what can ensue " (to borrow 
the language of the great English moralist) " but a continual 
exacerbation of hatred, an unextinguishable fend, an inces- 
sant reciprocation of mischief, a mutual vigilance to entrap 
and eagerness to destroy? ' : 

The question has been asked, What can the States do, sup- 
posing them to be divided separated into distinct subdivis- 
ions or independent sovereignties? Allow me to answer that 
question in the words of one of the most eminent men whom 
my State has ever produced: a man of clear and compre- 


hensive intellect, of a sound heart and enlarged and ardent 
patriotism, who shed a glory around his native State, and 
whose name is held in just veneration by every one who 
acknowledges himself a North Carolinian. At another period 
of our history the same question was asked. In the years 
1831 and 1832 it had become an inquiry, a subject of dis- 
quisition in my State, and the late Judge Gaston, in an address 
delivered in 1832 before the Literary Societies of the Uni- 
versity, thus treats of the subject: 

" Threats of resistance, secession, separation, have become 
common as household words in the wicked and silly violence 
of public declaimers. The public ear is familiarized vith, 
and the public mind will soon become accustomed to, the 
detestable suggestion of disunion. Calculations and conjec- 
tures what may the East do without the South, and what 
may the South do without the East? sneers, meoiaces, re- 
proaches, and recriminations all tend to the same fatal end. 
What can the East do without the South? .What can the 
South do without the East? They may do much; they may 
exhibit to the curiosity of political anatomists, and the pity 
and wonder of the world, the disjecta membra the sundered, 
bleeding limbs of a once gigantic body instinct with life, and 
strength, and vigor. They can furnish to the philosophic 
historian another melancholy and striking instance of the 
political axiom, that all republican confederacies have an in- 
herent and unavoidable tendency to dissolution. They will 
present fields and occasions for border wars, for leagues and 
counter leagues, for the intrigues of petty statesmen and the 
struggles of military chiefs, for confiscations, insurrections, 
and deeds of darkest hue. They will gladden. the hearts of 
those who have proclaimed that men are not fit to govern 
themselves, and shed a disastrous eclipse on the hopes of 
rational freedom throughout the world. Solon, in his code, 
proposed no punishment for parricide, as an impos- 
sible crime. Such, with us, ought to be the crime of political 
parricide the dismemberment of our 'fatherland.' : 

To me, sir, these sentiments convey a just . representation 
of what will be the future and unavoidable results of a sepa- 
ration of the people of this great country into . distinct and 


independent confederacies. And when I look at the prospect 
before us it is one so dark, filled with such horrid forms of 
dread and evil, that I willingly close my eyes upon it, and 
desire to believe that it is impossible it should ever be real- 

1 ypri 

Nor, Mr. President, must I forget that, in considering the 
effect which this proviso [the Wilmot Proviso] is likely to 
have upon the condition of the Southern mind, we must look 
to what has been said by Northern gentlemen in connection 
with this subject. Permit me to call the attention of the 
Senate to a very brief extract from a speech delivered in the 
other end of the Capitol: 

" In conclusion, I have only to add, that such is my solemn 
and abiding conviction of the character of slavery, that, under 
a full sense of my responsibility to my country and my Gocl, 
I deliberately say, better disunion, better a civil or a servile 
war, better anything that God in His providence shall send, 
than an extension of the bounds of slavery." 

SEVERAL SENATORS. Whose speech is that? 

A SENATOR. Mr. Mann's. 

MR. BADGER. We have heard much, Mr. President, of 
the violence of Southern declamation. I have most carefully 
avoided reading the speeches of Southern gentlemen who 
were supposed to be liable to that charge. I happened, how- 
ever, in the early part of this session, and before the other 
house was organized, to be in that body when there were 
some bursts of feeling and denunciation from Southern gentle- 
men, which I heard with pain, mortification, almost with 
anguish of mind. But, sir, these were bursts of feeling; these 
were passionate and excited declarations; these had every thing 
to plead for them as being spontaneous and fiery ebullitions 
of men burning at the moment under a sense of wrong. And 
where, among these, will you find anything equal to the cool, 
calm, deliberate announcement of the philosophic mind tliat 
delivered in the other house the passage which I have read: 
" Better disunion, better a civil or a servile war, better any- 
thing that God in His providence shall send, than an exten- 
sion of the bounds of slavery? v In other words, it is the 
deliberate, settled, fixed opinion of the honorable gentleman 


who made that speech, that rather than the extension of the 
bounds of slavery one foot yes, sir, there is no qualification, 
one foot he would prefer a disunion of these States, he would 
prefer all the horrors of civil war, all the monstrous, untold, 
and almost inconceivable atrocities of a servile war, he would 
pile the earth with dead, he would light up heaven with mid- 
night conflagrations; all this yea, and more all the vials 
of wrath which God in His providence might see fit to pour 
down on us he would suffer, rather than permit, not one man 
who is now free to be made a slave that would be extrava- 
gant, enough but rather than permit one man who now 
stands upon the soil of North Carolina a slave, to stand a 
slave upon the soil of New Mexico! 

Yes, sir, here is a sacrifice of life and happiness, and of all 
that is dear to the black and white races together, to a mere 
idealism a sacrifice proposed by a gentleman who claims to 
be a philosopher, and to speak the language of calm deliber- 
ation, a sacrifice of our glorious Union proposed by a patriot, 
not rather than freemen should be made slaves, not rather 
than the condition of even one human being should be made 
worse than it now is, but rather than one man shall remove 
from one spot of the earth to another without an improve- 
ment of his condition, without passing from slavery to free- 
dom! Sir, after that announcement thus made, which I beg 
to say, sir, I did not seek for the speech I have never read 
the extract I found in one of the newspapers of the day after 
that announcement, talk not of Southern violence, talk not 
of Southern egotism, talk not of our disposition to sacrifice 
to our peculiar notions and our peculiar relations the peace 
and happiness, the growing prosperity, and the mutual con- 
cord of this great Union. Now, sir, if that announcement 
goes abroad into the Southern country, attended by this wan- 
ton application of the Wilmot Proviso, an irritating commen- 
tary upon that patriotic announcement, what can be expected? 
What but the deepest emotions of indignation in the bosoms 
of those born and brought up where slavery exists, and taking 
totally different views of the institution from those which 
are taken by the honorable gentleman who has placed himself 
in this cool and deliberate, humane, and philosophical posi- 


Sir, we know, with regard to two or more of the Southern 
States, emphatic pledges have been given, through their Legis- 
latures, that some mode of resistance to this proviso will be 
adopted. Now, what is to be the result of the Nashville 
Convention which has been called for June next, should that 
body assemble and find matters in their present condition? 
If no bill shall have passed to do us justice by affording, as 
far as the law can afford it, the effectual restoration of fugitive 
slaves; if a bill shall have passed, or be likely to pass, with the 
insult of the Wilmot Proviso causelessly and wantonly insert- 
ed in it, after the announcement made in the extract of the 
speech which I have just read, and after that made by the 
Senator from ISTew York that so far from there being an 
obligation to restore to us our fugitive slaves, the duty of 
hospitality requires that they shall be received, kept and re- 
tained from us and that the constitutional law which requires 
their restoration to us is contrary to the law of God, and not 
binding in conscience ; and, still more, after the settled policy 
is fully realized that those who visit our shores, coming under 
the protection of the American flag within our jurisdiction, 
and, in violation of our laws, seduce our slaves from us, and 
carry them to the North, shall not be surrendered up as fugi- 
tives from justice, because the same high and overruling law 
which puts the Constitution do>wn, and makes it a nullity, 
has converted what we call a crime into a high and meritori- 
ous act of duty, what will be the result of this convention, 
meeting under such circumstances, what may be, what prob- 
ably will be, the consequence? I say it not because I wish 
it, I do not wish it; the conviction has been forced upon my 
mind by evidence reluctantly received; and therefore I wish 
my friends around me to give, for that reason, the more credit 
to what I say if that convention shall meet under such 
circumstances, in my judgment the Union is from that day 
dissolved. I do not say that dissolution will follow instantly ; 
I do not say but that a connection, an external Union, may not 
be maintained, and linger on for a few years longer: but the 
meeting of that convention will be to our institutions, in the 
language of Napoleon, "the beginning of the end "; it will 
be the initiative step in such a course of measures, North and 


South, as will result in convulsing us so far that the ills to 
which we fly, cannot, in our judgment, exceed those we bear; 
and thus will be put upon the people of the South the neces- 
sity, the painful, hard necessity, of a dissolution, a final sepa- 
ration. Now, sir, why do I take this view? In the first place, 
the meeting of the Nashville Convention is, upon its face, a 
step towards a separate and distinct organization of the South- 
ern States. The very movement separates them for a time, in 
purposes and intent, from the great mass of the population 
of the country. They meet there for' what purpose? To 
consider, to deliberate, to debate what? What course of 
action shall, by mutual agreement, be taken by the States 
whom this convention will represent, what manner of resis- 
tance, what mode of redress? Now, sir, in all matters of this 
kind, in all revolutions, in all dissolutions of the ties which 
bind us together, the first step is the great difficulty. It is 
so even in social and private life ; it is so in the married state. 
The first wanton and public outrage on the part of one 
towards the other of the parties is easily followed by such 
steps as end in total and thorough estrangement. "Well, then, 
suppose no measures are proposed which look to a separation 
of the Union, as I have no reason to suppose that any will 
be proposed looking to that as an object, I fully believe that 
that convention in Mississippi which terminated its session in 
the call for this convention was influenced by high and 
patriotic motives, seeking to preserve and not to destroy the 
Union. If I wanted anything to satisfy me of that (besides 
other reasons which I have), the very fact that the convention 
was presided over by the venerable and venerated Chief Jus- 
tice Sharkey, a most learned jurist and patriotic gentleman, 
would be sufficient for me. But when we have ascertained 
what people design by any particular movement, we are far, 
very far, from having ascertained what they may accomplish 
by it. Now, suppose this meeting should resolve that, by a 
common concurrence of the States represented, laws should 
be passed, police regulations be adopted, in those States, of 
the most irritating and offensive kind towards the Northern 
portion of the Union: such a course will not appear surprising, 
if we bear in mind the fact that slaves are constantly taken 


from our ports by vessels that visit them for the purpose of 
commerce; that, thus taken, they are withheld from us, and 
their seducers are neither discountenanced at home, nor re- 
stored to us for punishment; and that a flagrant wrong cm 
one side naturally provokes to measures at once of protection 
and retaliation from the other. But, Mr. President, the 
moment these States, by mutual compact and agreement, 
have come to a resolution to adopt a particular course of meas- 
ures upon this subject, they have left the platform of the 
Constitution; they are no longer upon it, because the Con- 
stitution expressly forbids a State to enter into any compact 
or agreement with another State without the consent of Con- 
gress. AVlien this first step is taken, the process is easy and 
need not be traced to a final dissolution of our present Union: 
and, therefore, in the event of the meeting of this convention, 
with the slavery question in the situation I have mentioned, 
I have, I repeat, gloomy apprehensions of what may be, and 
most probably will be the result upon the destinies of our 
country. Force, Mr. President, cannot keep the States of 
this Union together, cannot preserve the constitutional Union. 
I distinctly admit what has been said by the honorable Sena- 
tor from Massachusetts [Mr. Webster], that no State has a 
right to secede from this Union. I distinctly admit that the 
Constitution, looking to perpetuity, makes no provision di- 
rectly or indirectly, for the separation of its parts. But, in 
point of. fact, from the very nature of our institutions, the 
States cannot lie kept in union by force. The majority, or 
the most powerful portion, may conquer and reduce to sub- 
jection the other; but when this is done, the States are not 
in union, the constitutional connection is not restored. It is 
but the spectacle of a conquered people submitting to superior 
power; and no ties of affection, no cooperation in a common 
government, no American Union can reasonably be hoped 
between the conquerors and the conquered. Believe me, sir, 
if ever the unhappy hour should arrive when American blood 
is shed in a contest between the States some desiring to 
secede, and the others endeavoring to compel them by force 
of arms to remain in the Union whenever that hour comes, 
our connection is immediately broken, to all beneficial pur- 
poses, for the happiness or prosperity of the country. 


X)\v, Mr. President, with regard to my own State. Should 
this proviso be adopted, and should satisfaction not be given 
in the other particulars which I have mentioned, will North 
Carolina join in resisting, in any mode, the action of this 
government? Will she unite in measures for secession, for 
revolution, or for retaliatory legislation? I ani so far, sir, 
from undertaking to speak upon this subject for the South, 
which I wish to be understood now and always as disavowing, 
that I do not feel myself even empowered to speak what mil 
be the judgment and conduct of my own State. As was well 
said the other day by my friend and colleague [Mr. Man- 
gum], in presenting some resolutions to the Senate, disunion 
is a question which we cannot discuss here as one for Sena- 
torial action. We are sent here to represent the State under 
the Constitution, and to discharge ordinary legislative and 
executive duties, which presuppose the Constitution to be 
entire and in full force. We of course have no delegated 
authority to speak the views of North Carolina upon any such 
question as that which I have just stated. Last year the 
Legislature of my State passed a series of resolutions, in 
which, after expressing in very strong and decided terms the 
sense felt by the people of that State of the wrong of the 
Wilmot Proviso, and other kindred measures, they neverthe- 
less adopted an extract from the Farewell Address of Wash- 
ington, embodying the sentiment that we were not to look 
upon the Union as in any ei-ent to be abandoned. Making 
all proper modifications of that large and most comprehensive 
expression, " in any event," it could have no less interpreta- 
tion than this, that none of the events alluded to by the pre- 
ceding resolutions would furnish ground for the abandon- 
ment of the Union. Since that time this matter has been 
much discussed in North Carolina; primary meetings have 
been held; different resolutions have been passed by those 
meetings, some discountenancing and declining to be repre- 
sented in the Nashville Convention, others approving the call, 
and resolving to send delegates; and one meeting, with a 
somewhat singular inconsistency, while protesting against a 
government of unlimited powers, solemnly pledged itself to 
adhere to, abide by, and support whatever the Nashville Con- 


vention shall determine. I hope, sir, that North Carolina 
will not concur on account of the passage of the Wilmot 
Proviso, in any measures for the dissolution of the Union or 
resistance to the Government. My own opinion is that it 
would furnish no sufficient ground for such a procedure. I 
say that here; I shall say it at home when the proper time 
arrives, if a time shall ever arrive when it shall be necessary 
to say it. But this I say, also, that I shall feel, if such an 
event as the adoption of the proviso should happen, that a 
serious indignity has been offered to us; not, perhaps, de- 
signed I will not charge any with a deliberate design to 
insult but yet an indignity, because such must be the wanton 
adoption of an objectionable and useless measure, after dis- 
tinct notice that it will be considered in that light. And 
rely upon it, sir, that whatever may be the result in regard to 
any external action of the people of the Southern States, if 
something satisfactory is not done respecting fugitive slaves, 
and if the application of this Wilmot Proviso is insisted upon, 
there will be left in the hearts of our people a rankling sense 
of injustice and offense. They will have less of hope in the 
future operation of the Constitution. They will feel, to a 
certain extent, a painful conviction that the large majority 
of the inhabitants of the free States have not that sympathy 
with their feelings and regard for their rights, that justice 
and moderation in the exercise of the known powers, and 
that abstinence from the needless exercise of doubtful and 
questionable ones which are so essential to keep the mind of 
the country united; and, unless o*ur minds are united, the 
forced association of reluctant communities, who stay to- 
gether, not to obtain good from their connection, but to avoid 
evils of separation, does not deserve the name of Union. 

Mr. President, I am sorry that I have occupied the Senate 
so long. I will endeavor to draw the few remaining remarks 
I have to make to a speedy close. I have submitted with 
entire frankness the views which I entertain. I believe, con- 
scientiously believe, that there is in the Northern States of the 
Union a sincere attachment to the Constitution, a firm adher- 
ence to the compromises of the Constitution, and a just con- 
sideration for the rights and feelings of their Southern breth- 


ren. And I have a strong hope, an abiding confidence, that 
these sentiments will, on every proper occasion, be mani- 
fested by the great body of inhabitants in the free States. If 
I thought otherwise, I should be without hope, and should 
be inclined to consider my birth an event to be deplored, as 
imposing upon me the necessity of witnessing the utter de- 
struction of my country. But, sir, let a proper bill for the 
recapture of fugitive slaves be passed, let this "Wilmot Pro- 
viso be dropped (and, if possible, sink into insignificancy and 
oblivion), and I will be willing to deal with every question 
before the Senate in the utmost liberality of compromise. Yes, 
sir, I have no objections to compromise. The Union sprung out 
of compromise. The Union is supported by legislative com- 
promise, a compromise incorporated in the fundamental law, 
the Constitution. Springing out of compromise, this Union 
can only be preserved and made to promote the great and 
good ends designed by and hoped from it, by our carrying 
on the government habitually in the spirit of compromise. 
In that view, sir, I am willing to withdraw all objection to 
the admission of California, with or without an alteration of 
her limits as settled by her constitution. And when I say 
that, Mr. President, permit me to say that I make a great 
sacrifice. Sir, I occupy the same position with regard to 
California now as I did at the last session. The honorable 
Senator from Mississippi, now in his seat [Mr. Davis], knows 
that I was with him upon a committee charged with the sub- 
ject of admitting those Territories as States. I announced 
to him at once that I was totally and absolutely opposed to 
their admission in any form, and with any subdivision of 
territory. I have heard nothing to remove the objections I 
then entertained; but, in the manner of the organization of 
the government there, I find additional objections, strong in 
themselves, and giving additional force to those which I had 
before. And if I could believe that the views expressed by 
the Senator from New York [Mr. Seward], the other day, 
upon this subject, are the views entertained by the people of 
California, or by the gentlemen who are sent here to repre- 
sent them, my objections would rise almost to an insur- 
mountable repugnance, to a perpetual opposition; for that 


Senator has not hesitated to tell us, in substance, that we have 
no choice about admitting California; that she is a State, and 
a State she will continue, irrespective of any act of Congress; 
that she conies here and demands admission into this Union, 
and, if not admitted here, our authority will be cast aside, 
and she will be an independent republic upon the Pacific. 
But, sir, I cannot believe, and do not believe, that such an 
insolent dictation to us is designed by the people of Cali- 
fornia. And I personally know the two gentlemen whom 
she has selected as Senators, and am sure they would be the 
first to disown and renounce the position assumed by their 
patron upon this floor. 

The honorable Senator from ISTew York [Mr. Seward], 
seems to consider the admission of California as a matter 
beyond all price and all value, to be attained at every hazard 
and every sacrifice, and therefore, notwithstanding the opinion 
he has expressed with regard to slavery, though he considers 
it a high, hospitable duty to entertain the fugitive slaves from 
the South, and to keep them from their masters, though he 
has a holy horror of the extension of slavery into the Terri- 
tories now free, and considers every obligation imposed by 
the Constitution in reference to slavery overborne and an- 
nulled by the supreme law of God he tells us, that so all- 
important is the admission of California, under the circum- 
stances, that he would have voted for her admission with an 
express recognition by her constitution of the right to carry 
slaves into her territory. An allusion to this subject seems 
to have a strange effect upon the Senator from ISTew York. 
He is carried back at once to the last session, when certain 
measures were pending here for the purpose of organizing 
some temporary government for California and New Mexico; 
and alluding to the gentleman who is now the source of power 
and patronage in this Government, he thus expresses himself: 

" May this republic never have a President commit a more 
serious or more dangerous usurpation of power than the act 
of the present eminent Chief Magistrate, in endeavoring to 
induce the legislative authorities to relieve him from the exer- 
cise of military power, by establishing civil institutions, regu- 
lated by law, in a distant province. Rome would have been 


standing this day if she had had such generals and such tri- 

Yes, sir, if Rome had been blessed with a Zachary Taylor 
for commander of her armies; if Rome had been blessed with 
a Zachary Taylor for a tribune, the Goths, the Vandals, and 
the Huns, Attila, and all his hordes, w r ould have poured upon 
the empire in vain they would have been repelled, over- 
come upon the embattled plain, and driven back to their 
fastnesses in the Xorth, and Rome would stand this day proud 
mistress of the world! ISTow, .sir, whether the President of 
the United States can swallow such an adulation as this, I 
will not undertake to decide; but such is my estimate of his 
intelligence and his merit, of his modesty a just modesty,' 
which usually accompanies true merit that I believe he has 
no powers of deglutition sufficient to get it down. 

I have said, Mr. President, that I should make a great 
sacrifice in my vote for the admission of California; yet I will 
make the sacrifice, not grudgingly, but cheerfully; and, as 
said by the Senator from Michigan [Mr. Cass], the other day, 
if asked " What would I do to restore harmony to the country, 
and make this still a united and happy people," I would 
answer like him, " I scarcely know what I would not do to 
accomplish such an end." 

Mr. President, I feel the importance of this great subject, 
and my utter want of power to treat it as it deserves. I wish 
to excite or to irritate the angry feelings of no section of this 
country; I am conscious, in my own bosom, of no sentiment 
towards any portion of my countrymen, except one of 
respect and cordial attachment. But I may be permitted to 
except from this general declaration those mischievous asso- 
ciations in the Northern part of the United States, which, to 
our injury, and to the great and permanent injury of the 
unfortunate slaves among us, have been, with an unholy per- 
tinacity, agitating the subject of this domestic institution of 
ours for the last fifteen years. Towards them, even, I trust 
I have no feeling of hatred. For every portion of the 
American people, I care not whether in the East or West, 
the ISTorth or South, I have the heart and hand of a brother. 
There is no gentleman upon this floor, among my inline liate 


associates around me, no gentleman upon the other side of 
the chamber, for whom I have not always manifested a proper 
personal consideration and kindness; but I wish to make our 
JSTorthern friends aware of the danger to- which we are 
exposed. My own views have never been extreme, my position 
has ever been moderate; and I trust some credit will be given 
me when I declare my deliberate judgment, that consequences 
the most serious, even the most calamitous, may follow a par- 
ticular disposition of this subject by the present Congress. 
If it should be believed throughout the Southern country that 
sentiments which we have heard here uttered, are the sen- 
timents of the whole body of the North, every desire to 
remain together would sink in Southern hearts. We would 
be together, then, not for love or affection, not from the hope 
of happiness or improvement; and if we would remain united 
at all, it would be solely from dread of the greater and darker 
calamities that might follow our separation. If this subject 
is met in a proper spirit, it can be easily settled and adjusted. 
So far as I am concerned, I am willing to meet upon any 
reasonable ground. I am willing to yield much that I wish, 
to do much for which I have a strong and serious repugnance. 
I call upon every conservative gentleman in this body, 
every one from a free State who desires to perpetuate the 
institutions of his country in their true spirit and character, 
who wishes not to convert our Union into an association of 
discordant and discontented parts, held together by dread or 
force, but to preserve us one people, united in heart and affec- 
tion, I call upon him to meet us upon the ground of kindness, 
compromise, and conciliation. I say to him, drop this odious 
proviso, a measure powerful for evil and impotent for good; 
let it not have an immortality of mischief; give us security 
for the restoration of our fugitive slaves; admit California 
as you wish, and if you choose to abolish in the District of 
Columbia this foreign slave-trade, this conversion of the seat 
of government into a general mart for the slavedealers of the 
surrounding States, I say abolish it. My colleague [Mr. 
Mangum] and myself both stand ready to vote for it. Per- 
mit me, sir, to say to our Northern friends, that if they sup- 
pose Southern gentlemen to be wedded to any of the adven- 


titious evils or abuses of slavery, to be unwilling to correct 
excesses, or disposed to support cruelty or to patronize in hu- 
manity, they do us great injustice. Upon the rights of 
property we stand these we consider sacred and from our 
support of them we cannot be moved. But, saving these, 
make what regulations of police the occasion may require, 
and I will not only submit, but will give them my hearty 
concurrence and approbation. 

Mr. President, it cannot be I will not believe it nothing 
but demonstration, nothing but the accomplished fact shall 
satisfy me, that we have so degenerated from our sires of the 
Revolution as not to be able harmoniously to adjust the ques- 
tions before us. It cannot be that the true spirit of conces- 
sion and compromise has fled; that idealisms have taken the 
place of constitutional obligations and kindly feelings; that 
fanaticism has dethroned reason, and the Union, the work 
of our noble fathers, just as it has well commenced its onward 
progress to a future of real glory and power, is to be broken 
to pieces by the rude hands of agitation, by cabals abroad or 
intrigues at home, contrary to the general sentiment and ear- 
nest wish of the great mass of the people. Sir, we have had 
offerings made here for the preservation of this Union from 
every quarter of this chamber. Often and nobly have they 
been made by the distinguished Senator from Michigan [Mr. 
Cass] ; firm, steady, constant, and true in this cause has my 
friend from New York, on the other side of the chamber 
[Mr. Dickinson], at all times been. The distinguished Sena- 
tor from Kentucky [Mr. Clay], in his late earnest and 
patriotic efforts, has added another laurel to the immortal 
cha.plet that binds his brow; and but a few days since, the 
great expounder of the Constitution [Mr. Webster], that 
man of mighty mental and moral power, closed the list of 
great names engaged in this holy cause, in a speech so clear 
in expression, so comprehensive in patriotism, so noble in 
self-devotion, that could we doubt the success of these united 
efforts for harmony and conciliation, we must needs believe 
that, for some inexpiable crime, God has visited us with 
judicial blindness, preparatory to the outpouring of his indig- 
nation upon our country. Sir, I will not believe this, I do 


not, I will not despair of a cause so good. On the contrary 
I trust that we shall yet come together on a common basis of 
harmonious cooperation, and find ourselves able to adopt, as 
the expression not only of a patriotic wish, but of an assured 
and confident hope, the sentiment made immortal by the 
great Senator from Massachusetts, " Liberty and Union, now 
and forever, one and inseparable." 




That great range of mountains, extending from the St. 
Lawrence to the plains of Alabama, called by De Soto Appa- 
lachian, and by the Indian tribes, Allcghanies, which, in their 
tongue, signifies the endless, attains its greatest elevation in 
the Black Mountain group in the western part of this State. 

This group lies partly within the counties of Yancey, 
McDowell and Buncombe; and the tallest peak of the cluster, 
and of all the peaks east of the Rocky Mountains, is Mt. 
Mitchell. From its dominating summit there is thrown off a 
ridge which runs west, south and southwest, in a zigzag shape, 
alternated with deep gaps, tall summits and frightful preci- 
pices, until it melts away in the peninsula of the plain which 
is enclosed by the waters of the Swannanoa and the French 
Broad, in the county of Buncombe. 

In this range, about seven miles from where these waters 
meet, there is a little gorge-like valley scooped out of its 
western slope, which spreads its narrow bosom precisely in 
the face of the setting sun. The tall dome of Mt. Mitchell 
literally casts its shadow over this mountain-cradled vale as 
the sun first comes up from the eastern sea. Great ridges 
hem it in on either side, gradually melting on the south into 
the sloping hills on which stands the town of Asheville. A 
bold fresh brook from springs high up in the heart of the 
mountain ripples through the bottom of this vale, reenforced 
by a hundred smaller streams pouring from the ravines on 
the right and left, and empties its bright, fresh floods into the 
French Broad five miles below the county-seat. Near the 
very head of this valley is a charming little homestead, con- 
sisting of fertile bits of meadow on the brook-side, above 
which are open fields swelling upwards to the skirts of the 
mountain forests. In the midst of these fields, where the 
ground slopes gently towards the brook, there stood, about 


the beginning of this century, an old-fashioned log-house of 
the kind familiarly known to our mountain people as a 
" double-cabin." An orchard of a growth and fruitful lux- 
uriance peculiar to that region surrounded the house and 
curtilage, imparting that air of rustic beauty and abundance 
which constitutes a special charm in simple country homes. 

This spot, at the period indicated, was the home of an hon- 
est, upright, and intelligent man, whose name was Georgo 
Swain; and here, on the 4th day of January, 1801, was born 
the child who became the man to whose memory we desire 
to do honor this day. 

David Lowrie Swain was the second son and child of 
George and Caroline Swain. His father was of English de- 
scent, and was born in Roxboro, Massachusetts, in 1763. He 
came South and settled in Wilkes, now Oglethorpe county, 
in Georgia, served in the Legislature of that State five years, 
and was a member of the convention that revised the Consti- 
tution of Georgia. His health failing, he removed to Bun- 
combe county, North Carolina, in 1795, and was one of its 
earliest settlers. He was for many years Postmaster at Ashe- 
ville, and until within two years of his death; becoming in- 
sane a year or two previous to that event. Soon after his 
settlement in Buncombe he was married to Caroline Lowrie, 
a widow, whose maiden name was Lane, a sister of Joel 
Lane, the founder of the city of Raleigh, and of Jesse Lane, 
the father of General Joe Lane, late United States Senator 
from Oregon, and Democratic candidate for Vice-President 
on the ticket with General Breckinridge in 1860. This lady 
had three children by her first husband, one of whom, the 
late Colonel James Lowrie, of Buncombe county, lived and 
died a citizen of most excellent repute. By her last husband 
she had seven children. All of these are now dead. 

George Swain was by trade a hatter, but like all the thrifty 
men of his day, he combined farming with his shop, and was 
a successful man in both, as success was then measured. 
Whilst his hats were famous all the county over, his little 
farm on Beaver Dam, the name of the stream on which it 
was located, was considered a pattern in that period of rude 
agriculture. His apple-trees, under the shade of which young 


David was born and reared, were the product of cuttings 
brought all the way from Massachusetts a great and tedious 
journey then and some of the varieties which he thus im- 
ported still remain in that region by the names which he 
gave them. 

He was a man of some learning and much intelligence, 
mixed with a considerable degree of eccentricity. Like all 
ISTew Englanders, he believed much in education, and strug- 
gled constantly to impart it to his children. He was pos- 
sessed of a most wonderful memory, and I have heard it said 
by a lady who, as a girl, was intimate in his house, that he 
often entertained her and other visitors for hours together 
with the recitation of poems without book or manuscript. 

In this humble but instructive home, secluded from any- 
thing that could be termed fashionable society, but trained 
to industry, and instructed in the ways of integrity, young 
David Swain's early youth was passed. I cannot subscribe 
to the phrase so usually employed in describing such bio- 
graphical beginnings as this, when it is said that the subject 
of the memoir was " without the advantages of birth." The 
fact that a child is born amid such surroundings, and with 
such blood in his veins as coursed through those of young 
Swain, constitutes the very highest advantages which could 
surround the birth and bringing up of a young man who is 
to fight his way in a country like ours. 

The surest elements of success are commonly found in the 
absence of indulgences in youth, and the most successful war- 
riors against fate are those who are taught by stern necessity 
to fight early. 

Governor Swain was fond of recurring to the scenes and 
influences of his early life, and always felt that he had been 
fortunate in possessing a father to whom he could look with 
respect and confidence. He maintained a close and confi- 
dential correspondence with him from the time he left his 
roof to make his own way, and often referred to it as having 
had a most beneficial influence upon him. 

In the summer vacation of 1852 he visited Buncombe, and 
I accompanied him out to Beaver Dam to see once more the 
place of his birth, then and now in the possession of the Rev. 


Thomas Stradly. On a spot not very far from the house he 
stopped and told me that near this place was the first time 
he ever saw a wagon. This wondrous vehicle, he sail 1 , be- 
longed to Zebulon and Bedent Baird, Scotchmen by birth, 
who came to North Carolina some time previous to 1790, by 
way of New Jersey. There being no road for such vehicles, 
this wagon had approached the house of Mr. George Swain, 
he said, in the washed-out channel of the creek, and the 
future Governor of North Carolina stood in the orchard 
waiting its approach with wonder and awe, and finally, as its 
thunder reverberated in his ears, as it rolled over the rocky 
channel of the creek, he incontinently took to his heels, and 
only rallied when safely entrenched behind his father's house. 
He enjoyed the relation of this to me exquisitely. As a 
palliation of his childish ignorance, however, he added that 
this was the first wagon which had crossed the Blue Ridge. 

With healthful labor at home, and healthful instruction 
by the fireside, the days of his early childhood passed, till he 
attained the age at which his careful father thought he should 
be placed under other instructors. At the age of fifteen he 
was accordingly sent to the school near Asheville, called the 
Newton Academy. Its founder and first teacher was the 
Rev. George Newton, a Presbyterian clergyman of good 
repute, who was succeeded by Rev. Mr. Porter, another Pres- 
byterian clergyman, and then by the late William Smith, of 
Georgia, familiarly known as "Long Billy." This academy 
was justly famous in that region, and educated, in whole or 
in part, many of the prominent citizens of that country be- 
yond the Blue Ridge, and elsewhere. Governor B. F. Perry 
and Hon. Waddy Thompson, of South Carolina, M. Pattou, 
R. B. Vance, James W. Patton, James Erwin, and many 
others of North Carolina, were classmates of young Swain 
at that school. A lady who is now living, and was also a 
schoolmate of his there, tells me he was a most exemplary 
boy and diligent student, soon and clearly outstripping all his 
associates in the acquisition of knowledge. This superiority 
was doubtless due to the aid of an exceedingly strong and 
tenacious memory which he inherited from his father, and 
which characterized him through life. Mr. M. Patton in- 


forms me that young Swain taught Latin in the same school 
for several months. 

I am not aware that he attended any other school till he 
came to the University in 1821; in that year he entered the 
junior class, but only remained some four months. "Want of 
means most -probably prevented him from graduating. In 
1822 he entered upon the study of the law in the office of 
Chief Justice Taylor, in Raleigh. He obtained license to 
practise in December, 1822; and referring to that event in 
his address at the opening of Tucker Hall, August, 1867, 
forty-five years afterwards, he gives a most entertaining pic- 
ture of the Supreme Court which granted his license, and 
of the great North Carolina lawyers who at that time were 
practicing before its bar. 

Returning to the mountains, with his license in his pocket 
and a sweetheart in his eye, he went hopefully to work, and 
became almost immediately in possession of a lucrative prac- 
tice. The good people of his native county were quick to 
perceive his talents and integrity, and in 1824 he was elected 
a member of the House of Commons from Buncombe. So 
great was the satisfaction which his conduct in that capacity 
gave to his constituents, that they continued him as their 
member by successive elections until 1829. 

In his character as legislator he was most distinguished for 
his industry and attention to details, especially in the depart- 
ment of statistics and taxation, in which he soon became the 
highest authority in the body of which he was a member. 
He was prominent in getting the bill passed for the building 
of the French Broad Turnpike, a measure which revolution- 
ized the intercourse between Tennessee, Kentucky, and South 
Carolina, bringing an immense stream of emigration, travel, 
and trade through western North Carolina, and adding greatly 
to his own popularity among the people of that region. 

In 1829 he was elected, by the Legislature, Solicitor of the 
Edenton Circuit, a circumstance remarkable in our legal 
annals, both on account of his extreme youth at the time of 
his election to so important an office, and because the Edenton 
Circuit was in the most distant part of the State from his 
residence, and it had been the custom to select for that office 


a lawyer residing in the district for which he was elected. 
This compliment to his learning and ability was conferred 
upon him without solicitation, under the following circum- 
stances: A bitter contest had sprung up between two candi- 
dates for that position, one of whom was the notorious Robert 
Potter, and the friends of neither consenting to give way, by 
common consent both sides agreed to take young Swain. 

He rode only one circuit, when the next Legislature 
elected him a Judge of the Superior Court over Judge 
Seawell, then an able and eminent practitioner at the Raleigh 
bar. Swain was at that time the youngest man. ever elevated 
to the bench in this State, except Judge Badger, who was 
elected at the age of twenty-six. He had ridden four cir- 
cuits as judge with great acceptance, when in 1832 he was 
elected by the Legislature to be Governor of the State over 
several competitors, and was inaugurated on the first clay of 
January, 1832. Under the Constitution of 1YY6 the term 
of Governor was only one year, and Governor Swain Avas 
reelected in 1833 and 1834 successively. Just previous to 
the close of his official term in 1835 he was elected President 
of the State University, under the following circumstances: 
It is said that he would have continued in politics if the way 
had then been clear for him to go to the United States Sen- 
ate; or that he would have continued in the law, could he 
then have returned to the bench. But the way to neither 
being at that time open to him, he had no desire to return to 
the practice of law, or to continue further in State politics, 
in which he had already attained the highest honors which 
his State had to bestow. Under these circumstances, he 
turned his eyes towards the presidency of the University, 
vacant since January, 1835, by the death of the venerable 
and lamented Dr. Joseph Caldwell. But great as was his 
reputation as lawyer and politician, his character as a scholar 
was by no means so established, nor had public attention been 
directed to him as a fit person to take charge of an institution 
of learning. He one day called his friend, Judge Nash, into 
the executive office and told him frankly that he desired to 
be made President of the University; and seeing that the 
Judge did not express much approbation of the project, he 


asked him to consult with Judge Cameron, and if they two 
did not approve of it, he would abandon the idea. Nash 
promised to do so, and on meeting Judge Cameron gave him 
his opinion that Swain would not do for the place. Cameron, 
however, dissented at once, saying that Swain was the very 
man; that though it was true he was not a scholar, yet he 
had all the other necessary elements of success; and that the 
man who had shown he knew so well how to manage men 
could not fail to know how to manage boys. So, at the next 
meeting of the Board of Trustees, Judge Cameron nominated 
him and secured his election to the Presidency. This closed 
his political and judicial career. 

I have omitted to mention, however, in its chronological 
order, a most important part of that career. In 1835, whilst 
Governor, he was elected a delegate from the county of Bun- 
combe to the convention of that year which amended the 
Constitution. Perhaps no portion of his political service was 
of greater importance to the State than that which he ren- 
dered as a member of that convention. His sagacity, liber- 
ality, and profound acquaintance with the statistics of the 
State, and with the history of the constitutional principles of 
government contributed very largely to the formation of that 
admirable instrument, the Constitution of 1835, a more excel- 
lent one than which, our surroundings considered, was never 
framed by any English-speaking people. Few men in our 
annals have risen in life more rapidly than he, or sooner 
attained the highest honors in every branch of the govern- 
ment, legislative, judicial and executive. In making an esti- 
mate of his character and capacity in these offices, we shall 
be compelled, beyond doubt, to conclude that it required very 
substantial abilities to enable him thus to reach and sustain 
himself creditably in them all. 

His practice as a lawyer was a very lucrative one to have 
been acquired at so early an age. As an evidence of the 
esteem in which his abilities and learning were held, he was, 
at the age of twenty-seven, when he had been a lawyer but 
four years, retained as counsel for the State of North Caro- 
lina, with George E. Badger, in a most complicated mass of 
litigation, involving the title to more land than was ever sued 


for under one title in our State (except, perhaps, that insti- 
tuted by the heirs of Lord Granville in 1804). Several 
hundred thousand acres of land had been granted to William 
Cathcart, Huldeman, and Elseman, citizens of Pennsylvania, 
lying in the counties of Burke, Buncombe, Haywood, and 
Macon. Subsequently, these same lands, in great part, were 
sold in smaller lots to settler citizens by the State, under the 
belief that when patented originally by Cathcart and others 
they were not subject to entry, for the reason that they were 
within the boundaries which had been reserved to the Indians 
by various treaties. One hundred suits in ejectment were 
brought against these settlers in the Circuit Court of the 
United States by the heirs of Cathcart. All these actions 
were dependent on similar facts, and each one involved the 
validity, accuracy, and definite character of various surveys 
made at sundry different times during a period of nearly half a 
century previous thereto, under treaties between the State and 
the Cherokee Indians, and between the United States and 
the same Indian tribe. The State resolved to defend the 
titles it had given to its citizens, and employed Badger and 
Swain to contend with Mr. Gaston, who was for the plain- 
tiffs a very high compliment to both of them. Here was 
a field wherein Governor Swain had no superior, and where 
his peculiar talents came specially into play. A complicated 
maze of long-forgotten facts was to be resurrected from buried 
documents, dimly traced surveyors' lines and corners through 
hundreds of miles of tangled mountain forests were to be 
established, partly by the evidence of old grey-haired wood- 
men and partly by the fading outlines of the rude maps and 
indistinct field-notes of the surveyors of that day; and old 
treaties and musty statutes were to be brought out of the dust 
and made to speak in behalf of the rights of our people. In 
such a work his soul delighted, and to his faithful labors and 
indefatigable energy must the final success of the State be 
mainly attributed. For though he was put on the bench, and 
from the bench was made Governor before the test case was 
tried in 1832, and the victory won, he never ceased his labors 
in this behalf, and his official letter-book of that period is 
filled with evidences of his zeal and research. Judge Badger, 


who was as generous as he was great, and who followed the 
case up to the Supreme Court of the United States, where 
he was assisted by Mr. Webster, frankly acknowledged that 
the cause was won mainly by the careful preparation of 
Swain. Another circumstance connected with this litigation, 
worth the mention in these days is, that notwithstanding the 
vast amount of valuable work he had done already, yet be- 
cause the cases were not concluded when he was made a judge, 
Governor Swain voluntarily returned half of his retainer into 
the treasury. All of which goes to show that in selecting 
him out of so many able and older lawyers to assist Mr. 
Badger, the State had chosen wisely indeed. 

There were giants in those days, and the giants were hon- 

During his service in the Legislature no great or exciting 
issues were before the people, and his career there displays 
no extraordinary effort in any direction. He soon acquired, 
however, a high reputation for learning and industry in deal- 
ing with the practical questions of the day, among which 
then was the very vexed one of the ratio of representation in 
the Legislature between the East, where were many slaves, 
and the West, where there were few. This finally forced 
the calling of the Convention in 1835. It was, however, an 
era of great political importance, viewed in the light of sub- 
sequent events. The great political parties Whig and Dem- 
ocratic which have shaped the destinies of these United 
States for full half a century, were then crystallizing from the 
confused and crude opinions of our early American politics. 
All thinking men began about this period to range themselves 
with one or the other of the schools which undertook to con- 
strue the Constitution of the United States, to ascertain its 
meaning and its powers, and to define its relations with the 
States. A gigantic, and, as it would seem, an endless task 
indeed. Swain sided with Adams, Clay, and Webster, whose 
followers began to be called Whigs. Of the prominent men 
of that day, who agreed with him, or with whom he agreed, 
were Gaston, Morehead, Badger, Mangum, Cherry, Graham, 
Stanly, Moore, Miller, Outlaw, and Kayner. Of those who ad- 
hered to the school of Jefferson and Calhoun, were the veuer- 


able Macon, Ruffin, Hay wood, Saunders, Branch, Edwards, 
Seawell, Shepherd, Donnell, Fisher, Craige, and Venable. 
It is not practicable to enumerate all the mighty men of that 
day who controlled our affairs and gave tone and character 
to our society. ISTo State in the Union had a larger list of 
very able citizens, and we can pay no higher compliment to 
Governor Swain than to say that he rose up among such, and 
was the peer of them all. 

As before stated, he rode but four circuits as judge. From 
all his decisions during that time there came up but eighteen 
appeals. Of these, thirteen were sustained by the Supreme 
Court, consisting of Ruffin, Henderson, and Hall, and in one 
other he was sustained by the dissenting opinion of Chief 
Justice Ruffin, leaving but four in which he was unanimously 
overruled. This, says Mr. Moore, who is now our highest 
living authority in matters relating to the law, is an evidence 
of judicial ability more satisfactory than could elsewhere have 
been furnished among our judges, and no higher compliment 
could have been paid him. Mr. Moore also informs me that 
Swain was very popular as a judge, even in those days when 
the only road to popularity in that office was the honest and 
able discharge of its exalted duties. In the contest for judge, 
when he was elected over Seawell, he first acquired a nick- 
name which stuck to him till after he retired from poli- 
tics. Repeated attempts with various candidates had been 
made to defeat Seawell, who was obnoxious to the party to 
which Swain belonged, but all these efforts had failed until 
Swain's name was brought forward. " Then," said an en- 
thusiastic member from Iredell, " we took up old ' warping 
bars ' from Buncombe, and warped him out." After the 
Governor became President of the University he lost this 
humorous and not ill-fitting sobriquet, and acquired from the 
college wits the geographical descriptio personae, " Old 
Bunk," which adhered to him through life. 

The official letter-book of Governor Swain during his 
administration shows that his time and labors were principally 
devoted to the questions of constitutional reform; the coast 
defenses of North Carolina; the claims of the State against 
the general government; the removal and settlement of the 


Cherokee Indians, the adjustment of land titles in the West, 
and other matters of domestic concern. 

During this time, however, many letters of literary and 
historic importance were written by him. There is found 
on those pages a letter written by Mr. John C. Hamilton, of 
New York, son of Alexander Hamilton, propounding eleven 
inquiries relating to the histoiy of North Carolina; more 
particularly with regard to the system of her colonial and 
early State taxation; and the reasons of the action of her 
convention in regard to the adoption of the Federal Consti- 
tution, and kindred topics. Governor Swain's replies to these 
queries show a wonderful amount of information and research 
into the minuter sources of our early history, clearly indica- 
ting that he was possessed in a high degree of those peculiar 
talents which constitute the true historian. Most of his liter- 
ary labor throughout his life was in this department, and his 
collections were especially rich in the early history of North 
Carolina. Who is there left now in our State able to use the 
material for its history which he had been accumulating 
through so many years? To this great work he had intended 
to devote the closing years of his life. AVhat stores of infor- 
mation perished with him! He was the special vindicator 
of that much-abused and much-misunderstood class of men, 
the Regulators of our colonial times. No man in the State 
has done so much to clear their fame few have been so com- 
petent. The papers contributed by him to the University 
Magazine on the subject would form a volume, if collected, 
and their great value is indicated by the numerous inquiries 
instituted for them by men in various States of the Union. 
His lecture before the Historical Society in 1852 may be said 
to have settled the question of the merits of the Regulators 
and their service to liberty. 

As Governor of the State, in 1833, he laid the corner- 
stone of the present capitol amid imposing ceremonies; a 
building designed with perhaps as pure and simple taste as 
any in America, and as solid and enduring as any in the 

On the 12th of January, 1826, he was married to Miss 
Eleanor H. White, daughter of William White, Secretary 


of State, and granddaughter of Governor Caswell, a union 
productive of great domestic happiness to a man so fitted as 
he, by nature and by a life of unsullied purity, to appreciate 
the ties of home and the love of wife and children. J>y this 
lady there were born to him several children, of whom but 
three, two daughters and a son, ever reached maturity. His 
oldest son, David, who died in childhood, was a boy of great 
promise. His eldest child and daughter, Anne, died unmar- 
ried in 1867. The second daughter, and now only surviving 
child, Eleanor Hope, married General S. D. Atkins, of Free- 
port, Illinois, where she now resides. The son, Richard 
Caswell, was killed a few years since, near his home in Illi- 
nois, being crushed to death by falling between two railroad 
cars while in motion. There is now no male representative 
of the name surviving. 

From the time that Governor Swain entered upon his 
duties as President of the University his career is marked by 
few notable events of which his biographer can make men- 
tion. Although the work he did here was undoubtedly the 
great work of his life, it is impossible for us to compute it. 
As with the silent forces of nature, which we know to be 
the greatest that are exerted in this world, but which yet 
elude the grasp of our senses, so is it impossible for us to 
measure the power of the able and faithful teacher. The 
connections between moral cause and effect are much more 
difficult to trace than those between physical cause and effect, 
but although in either case the lines are dim the wise do not 
fail to see that they are there, and that the results are pow- 
erful. It is conceded that the imperceptible and benign force 
of light and heat which lifts the mighty oak out of the earth, 
and spreads its branches to the skies, is infinitely greater than 
that of the noisy whirlwind which prostrates it in the dust. 

Says Mr. Herbert Spencer: " In every series of dependent 
changes a small initial difference often works a marked differ- 
ence in the results. The mode in which a particular breaker 
bursts on the beach may determine whether the seed of some 
foreign plant which it bears is or is not stranded, may cause 
the presence or absence of this plant from the flora of the 
land, and may so affect for millions of years, in countless 


ways, the living creatures throughout the earth. The whole 
tenor of a life may be changed by a single word of advice, 
or a glance may determine an action which alters thoughts, 
feelings, and deeds throughout a long series of years." 

We know that the moral tone of a community is the main- 
spring of its glory or its shame; that that tone is to a great 
extent imparted by its educated men; we know, too, that no 
man has ever lived in North Carolina whose opportunities for 
thus influencing those who control her destinies have been 
greater than Governor Swain's were; and I am quite sure 
that no man ever more diligently and earnestly improved 
those opportunities. There is this, too, further and better to 
be said, that in the whole course of his contact with the young 
men of North Carolina and of the South at the University 
for a third of a century, the whole weight of every particle 
of influence which he possessed was exerted in behalf of good 
morals, good government, patriotism, and religion. The 
sparks of good which he elicited, the trains of generous ambi- 
tion which he set on fire, the number of young lives which 
his teachings have directed into the paths of virtue and knowl- 
edge, and colored with the hues of heaven who but God 
shall tell? If we could see events and analyze destinies as 
only the Most High can, how wondrous would appear the 
harvest of David L. Swain's sowing! How many great 
thoughts worked out in the still watches of the night; how 
many noble orations in the forum, stirring the hearts of men; 
how many eloquent and momentous discourses in the pulpit; 
how many bold strokes of patriotic statesmanship; how many 
daring deeds and sublime deaths on bloody fields of battle; 
how many good and generous and honest things done in 
secret; how many evil things and sore temptations resisted; 
in short, how much of that which constitutes the public and 
private virtue of our people, the prosperity, the honor, and 
the glory of our State might not be traced to the initial in- 
spiration of David L. Swain! Say what you will for the 
mighty things done by the mighty ones of earth, but here 
is the truest honor and renown. For whether there be proph- 
ecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall 
cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away; but 



he that helps to shape an immortal soul, and fit it for the 
service of heaven and humanity, verily his memory shall 
endure until that which is perfect is come! 

How well do I remember the many occasions during my 
sojourn at the University, when he as my preceptor, esteem- 
ing such influences of greater importance to the class than 
the texts of the lessons, would for the time give his whole 
soul to the stirring up of these generous and emulous senti- 
ments in the hearts of his pupils. The very first recitation 
in which I ever appeared before him was one such. I shall 
never forget it. In 1851 I entered the University, and 
joined the senior class as an irregular. The first lesson was 
in constitutional law. A single general question was asked 
and answered as to the subject in hand, and then he began 
to discourse of Chancellor Kent, whose treatise we were study- 
ing; from Kent he went to Story, from Story to Mai-shall, 
repeating anecdotes of the great Americans who had framed 
and interpreted our organic law, and touching upon the 
debate between Hayne and Webster. From these, he went 
back and back to the men and the times when the great semi- 
nal principles of Anglo-Saxon liberty were eliminated from 
feudal chaos, and placed one by one as stones, polished by 
the genius of the wise, and cemented by the blood of the 
brave, in the walls of the temple of human freedom. He 
told us of the eloquence of Burke, of the genius of Chatham; 
he took us into the prison of Eliot and went with us to the 
death-bed of Hampden; into the closet with Coke and Ser- 
geant ]\Iaynard; and to the forum, where Somers spoke; to 
the deck of the Brill, where William, the deliverer, stood as 
he gazed upon the shores of England; to the scaffolds of Sid- 
ney and of our own glorious Raleigh. Warming as he went 
with the glowing theme, walking up and down the recitation- 
room, which was then the library of the " old South," with 
long and awkward strides, heaving those heavy passionate 
sighs, which were always with him the witnesses of deep 
emotion, he would now and then stop, take down from its 
shelf a volume of some old poet, and read with trembling 
voice some grand and glowing words addressed to man's truest 
ambition, that thrilled our souls like a song of the chief musi- 


cian. A profound silence was evidence of the deep attention 
of the class, and the hour passed almost before we knew it 
had begun. 

I afterwards learned that this lecture was intended for my 
benefit, as I was a stranger to the class and had entered it 
under some disadvantages, and in his kindness of heart he 
supposed I needed some encouragement. But such were 
frequently given us. Nor were these digressions from the 
chief business of the hour always of a serious nature. The 
gayest wit and brightest humor often illumined the moments 
when, not content with putting forth his own conceits, he 
exerted himself to draw forth those of the class, and if he 
succeeded sometimes in bringing forth a repartee that struck 
pat upon his own head, no one enjoyed it more than himself. 
Like a true humorist and story-teller, he enjoyed the taking 
as well as the giving with the utmost good fellowship. 

From the day that Governor Swain became the chief officer 
of the University his life was literally devoted to its interests. 
The same traits of character which had hitherto secured his 
success in life were especially needed here. His prudence, 
his cautious far-reaching policy, his constructive ability, his 
insight into character, and remarkable faculty for suggesting 
valuable work to others and setting them at it, his forbear- 
ance, charity, self-control these were all brought into play 
with marked results. The reputation of the institution, and 
the number of its students steadily and continually increased. 
In 1835 there were not over ninety in attendance. In 1860 
there were nearly five hundred. 

Governor Swain was eminently a progressive man. He 
loved to suggest, and to see his suggestions taken up and car- 
ried out. What a number of improvements the record of 
his management shows that he inaugurated at the University ! 
The excellent system of street-draining in the village of Chapel 
Hill, by stone culverts, the planting of elms, the enclosing of 
the college grounds, and their improvement and ornamenta- 
tion with shrubbery all these were planned by him, and 
executed under Dr. Mitchell's superintendence. He first 
employed a college gardener. He was the founder of the 
State Historical Society. He established, and assisted largely 


to support, the University Magazine, and was himself one of 
its most regular and valued contributors. lie was one of the 
foremost friends of the North Carolina Central Railroad, and 
offered to be one of a number to take the whole stock at once. 
He first introduced the study of the Bible into college, and of 
constitutional and international law. He was always deeply 
interested in the prosperity of the village of Chapel Hill, be- 
lieving, and justly, that its welfare was identical with that of 
the college. Circumstances since his death have amply 
proved the truth of this. He had ever a kind word, and a 
charitable estimate for every man, woman, and child in the 

Thirty-three years of his best days and the sincerest labors 
of his existence were spent at our University in the training 
of young men. As yet no monument has been erected in 
its grounds to commemorate his virtues and his labors. The 
valley of humiliation nay, of the shadow of death through 
which our beloved institution has passed, in which she was 
despoiled of everything but her glorious memories, and, I 
trust, her gratitude, is the apology which can be offered for 
this seeming, but not real, neglect. A simple tablet to his 
memory might well be inserted in any of its walls, and fitly 
written thereon might be the words found in the epitaph of 
Sir Christopher Wren in the crypt of St. Paul's : 

Lector, si monumentum requiris, 
Circumspice ! 

In very truth the University may be looked upon as his 
monument. It emerged from swaddling clothes under Presi- 
dent Caldwell; it passed through a vigorous youth into a 
splendid manhood under President Swain. But whilst the 
stranger stands upon the earth and beholds the monument of 
the great architect in the magnificent pile whose tall fane 
overtops the loftiest domes and spires of the greatest city in 
the world, he who would fully comprehend the great work 
of David Swain's life would have to stand upon the battle- 
ments of heaven and survey the moral world with an angel's 

I know of no man of his day, surrounded by so many 


inducements to return to the paths leading to highest distinc- 
tion in active public life, who so completely put them all 
away, and adhered so strictly to his accepted work. As we 
have seen, his career as a politician and a lawyer had been 
remarkably successful while he was yet at a very early age, 
and if he had desired further honors he had all the qualities 
which are supposed to fit men for the attainment of these 
objects. Had he been possessed of a passion to accumulate 
wealth, almost any other course in life would have fed this 
desire more than the presidency of the University. From 
all these fields of distinction and of wealth, the public senti- 
ment of his time desired that the officers, and especially the 
chief officers, of the University should be isolated. This 
expectation Governor Swain filled, and more than filled. 
For the good of the institution, he not only laid aside what- 
ever of ambition he may have had in the directions usually 
chosen by able men, but he subordinated many cherished 
convictions, and refrained from doing many things which 
he, no doubt, most ardently desired to do. In the nature 
of things, this course, so essential to the success of an insti- 
tution entirely dependent on popular favor, begot many mis- 
conceptions of his character. It has been said that he was 
undecided in his opinions, and timid in the expression and 
maintenance of them. I believe such an impression does his 
memory great injustice. His nature was essentially gentle, 
his manners mild, his temper was cautious; but I cannot 
believe that he was either timid or undecided. I had the 
honor and I consider it both an honor and a happy for- 
tune to be on terms of confidential intimacy with him from 
my first entrance into the University until his death. We 
were in the utmost accord on all questions pertaining to 
church and state, and during my subsequent career, especially 
in those troublous years of war, I consulted him more fre- 
quently perhaps than any other man in the State, except 
Governor Graham. So affectionately was his interest in my 
welfare always manifested that many people supposed we 
were relatives, and I have frequently been asked if such were 
not the fact. 

This state of our relations gave me ample opportunity to 


kno\V him well, and I believe I can say with entire truth 
that whilst his course of life and surroundings necessarily 
made him tolerant and even liberal towards those who disa- 
greed with him, he was as positive in his opinions, religious 
and political, and as firm in his adherence to them, as any man 
of my acquaintance. The unpopularity of which he was 
afraid, and which produced that cautious habit which some 
men mistook for timidity, pertained to the institution which 
he had in charge, and not to himself. And as the State 
reaped the benefit of his prudence in the increased prosperity 
of the University, the injustice of charging this to a defect 
of character becomes all the more apparent. 

The remarkable character of his memory served him in 
good stead in many ways through life. As a lawyer it had 
been invaluable, not only enabling him to cite cases with 
great readiness to the court, but in trials before juries, without 
taking notes, he could repeat the testimony of all the wit- 
nesses examined, no matter how many, nor how long the 
trial continued. 

Perhaps he was more thoroughly versed in biography than 
any man who has ever lived in America; certainly North 
Carolina never produced his equal in this respect. His won- 
derful memory, combined with great industry, was stimulated 
by a genuine love of genealogical studies. Almost the first 
question he would ask a student on meeting him, if indeed 
he did not already know, was, "Who is your father?' 3 On 
being told, by a few quick questions he would possess himself 
of the boy's lineage, and would never forget it. Generally, 
however, the boys would be utterly astounded on presenting 
themselves, to find that the Governor knew more of them 
and their families than they did themselves. It was equally 
so with all strangers whom he met, and frequently ludicrous 
scenes resulted from his insatiable desire to trace pedigree. 
Whilst a delegate from this State to the Montgomery Conven- 
tion, which organized the Confederacy in 1861, he was intro- 
duced to a distinguished gentleman, and without letting go 
his hand, which he took to shake, he stopped in the midst 
of the flow of ceremonious speech, and, to the no small amuse- 
ment of the bystanders, said: " Sir, was not your mother's 


maiden name Jones? " I doubt if there is a single 
family on the Atlantic coast, whose members have borne 
any prominent part in the affairs of the country, in regard 
to which he did not have more or less of information at 
least, he could have told all about its leading representatives. 
With a very little help indeed he could have supplied a 
" Doomsday Book " of North Carolina, more accurate by far 
than that of the Conqueror. It was generally understood 
at Chapel Hill that if you wanted to know what anything 
was, you went to Dr. Mitchell; if you wanted to know who 
anybody ivas, you went to Governor Swain. 

And as he never forgot face, or name, or lineage of the 
man once known to him, so he never forgot a kindness or a 
favor once done to him or his, and loved to continue such 
memories, and extend the chain of friendship to second and 
third generations. " Thine own, and thy father's friend 
forsake not," was one of his favorite maxims. He was utterly 
incapable of resisting an appeal for mercy, or a tale of dis- 
tress. This was, I believe, the only objection urged against 
his conduct on the bench his leniency to criminals. So too 
arose the only serious trouble he ever had with the Trustees 
of the University. Stringent measures had been resolved 
upon by the Board towards dissipation and insubordination 
among the students, which were not rigidly enforced by Gov- 
ernor Swain. So great was his forbearance with the hot 
blood of youth, and so strong his faith that time would cure 
these early follies, and enable the better natures of the young 
men to assert themselves, that he suffered the Draconian code 
of the Trustees to lie dormant, whilst he lectured, reproved, 
and exhorted. He shrank from branding the opening years 
of a young life with sentence of dismission or expulsion, and 
would condescend to an erring boy while there remained the 
last hope of reform. In such cases his judgment not unfre- 
quently came into conflict with the opinions of other mem- 
bers of the faculty, and finally so irritated the Trustees that 
they passed a resolution of censure upon him, which was pub- 
licly read from the platform of the chapel by no less a per- 
sonage than Governor Iredell. Quite a scene was excited on 
this occasion, and when Governor Swain arose and replied in 


his own vindication, it was with much emotion, not immingled 
with indignation; "More," says Mr. Cameron, who was pres- 
ent, " than I ever knew him to exhibit on any occasion, before 

or since.' 1 

The lapse of time has shown this policy to have been the 
best and wisest not only for the yonng men themselves, but 
for the institution, and for his own fame. Who of all the 
hundreds to whom he thus stood in the attitude of a father, 
kind, and long-suffering, and hopeful, but now recalls him 
with affection and gratitude; how many a one remembers 
his college-life at Chapel Hill as the turning point of his 
career, where he was won by undeserved kindness to paths of 
honor, not repelled by judicial severity, and feels in his heart 
that under God he owes all that he has of fortune, friends or 
fame to the University and its wise head! 

While the Governor remained in political life his extraordi- 
nary memory of persons and names and events gave him a 
wonderful advantage. There is no more successful way of 
making one's self agreeable to the multitude than by knowing 
men when you meet them, and calling them by name. ]STot 
to recognize a man who has stood your friend, and fought 
your battles at the polls, is always an omission of evil omen 
in his eyes, and a bad memory for names will not always 
apologize for what seems to be neglect. Many and many 
are the shifts of the politician to avoid this fatal predicament. 
But I venture to say that Governor Swain was never caught 
in such a way. Once being introduced, he never forgot his 
man, nor his family connections. After the surrender of 
General Lee in 1865, when General Sherman had begun his 
march upon Raleigh, at the earnest request of Mr. B. F. 
Moore and Mr. Kenneth Rayner, I sent an embassy to meet 
the federal commander, and obtain what terms were possible 
for the surrender of the capital of the State. 

Having confidence in their firmness and discretion, I 
selected Governors Swain and Graham, who left in a few 
moments after their appointment, on a special train, accom- 
panied by Dr. Edward Warren, Surgeon-General of the State. 
I remarked, after their departure with my letter, as one reason 
for selecting him, that I had no doubt Governor Swain would 


find plenty of acquaintances in the enemy's camp, or at least 
would prove that he knew the fathers of many of the officers. 
And so it was; on his arrival at headquarters, he not only 
claimed General Sherman as an old correspondent, and fellow- 
college-president, but immediately seized upon two or three 
members of the staff whose parents and pedigree he knew, 
and was soon at home among them. 

And here perhaps it is not improper in me to correct a 
statement made by General Sherman in his memoirs in rela- 
tion to this embassy. Referring to it, that General says: 
" They had come with a flag of truce, to which they were 
not entitled; still, in the interests of peace, I respected it, 
and permitted them to return to Raleigh with their loco- 
motive, to assure the Governor of the State and the people, 
that the war was substantially over, and that I wanted the 
civil authorities to remain in the execution of their office 
till the pleasure of the President could be ascertained. On 
reaching Raleigh I found these same gentlemen with Messrs. 
Bragg, Badger, Holden and others, but Governor Vance had 
fled, and could not be prevailed on to return, because he 
feared arrest and imprisonment." This statement is uncan- 
did, not to say untruthful, by implication at least. These 
gentlemen had a right to the flag of truce, for it was sent 
with the consent and by permission of General Hardee, com- 
manding the Confederate forces in the absence of General 
Johnston, and should not have been permitted to enter the 
enemy's lines if the bearers were not entitled to carry it. It 
was not respected, for it was fired upon by Kilpatrick's men, 
and " captured," as they claimed, and the gentlemen com- 
posing the embassy were promptly and skillfully robbed of 
their surplus personalty, and were conducted as " prisoners ' : 
to General Sherman's headquarters. They were not permit- 
ted promptly, as the statement implies, to return with their 
locomotive, with assurances of peace and protection, but were 
detained there the entire day and night after their arrival 
within Sherman's lines, until he no doubt knew that Raleigh 
was entirely uncovered by Johnston's troops. Of course, all 
the officers of the State government who did not wish to sur- 
render at discretion, left with the Confederate troops, for, the 


embassy not returning, and no news of its fate, except that it 
had been captured, and no reply to my letter being received, 
they had no assurance of protection. Governor Swain states 
in his address at the opening of Tucker Hall that on the 
return of the embassy that memorable morning, but a few 
minutes in advance of the Federal troops, the city was 
shrouded in silence and gloom, except for the presence of a 
few marauding stragglers from Wheeler's cavalry, showing 
conclusively that the city was uncovered when he arrived 
with Sherman's message. It was some days afterwards, and 
at Hillsborough, when I learned from Governor Graham the 
result of his mission, and it was then far too late for me, con- 
sistently with other duties, to accept of Sherman's offer of 
protection, had any one convinced me that it was best to do 
so, which indeed no one did. My inclinations, I confess, were 
to be with that little army, fully one-third of whom were 
North Carolinians, until they laid down their arms. I am 
happy to reflect that I shared their fate to the last. 

This much to vindicate the truth of history. Throughout 
this whole transaction, as many gentlemen have testified to 
me, Governor Swain's bearing was, in the highest degree, 
courageous, discreet, and manly. 

During the war his efforts had mainly been directed to 
keeping the college alive, for such was the impetuosity with 
which the call to arms was obeyed, that of the eighty mem- 
bers, of which the freshman class consisted in 1860, but one 
(in delicate health) remained to pursue his studies. (Of the 
senior class of that date not one had remained out of the army, 
and fully one-fourth of them fell in battle.) Seven members 
of the faculty volunteered, and of them five returned no more. 

Governor Swain appealed to the Confederate Government 
more than once to prevent the handful of college boys left 
from being drafted. President Davis himself seconded these 
efforts in the earlier years of the war, declaring that " the 
seed-corn should not be ground up." But as the exigencies 
of the country increased, this wisdom was lost sight of, the 
collegians were again and again called upon, till at the time 
of Lee's surrender there were but about a dozen here, still 
keeping up the name and forms of a college. Jhit even wlule 


the village and University were occupied by four thousand 
Michigan cavalry, the old bell was rung daily, prayers were 
held, and the University was going. The Governor took 
a pride in this, and hoped that he was to tell it many years 
after. But this long and useful life, devoted to the best inter- 
ests of his country and his age, was nearing its close. Only 
three years yet remained to him, and these were devoted by 
him to earnest, unceasing endeavors to reinstate the Univer- 
sity pecuniarily, and to recall its former patronage. Darker 
days, however, were in store for it, which he in the good 
providence of God was not to be permitted to see. 

In the summer of 1868, the State passing under a new 
Constitution, and an entire change of government, the Uni- 
versity also fell into new hands, whose first action was to 
request the resignation of the president and faculty, most of 
whom had grown grey in service to the State. A guard of 
negroes were sent to take possession, and these halls were 
closed. Governor Swain was then preparing for a visit to 
Buncombe. On the llth day of August, while driving in 
the neighborhood of Chapel Hill, with Professor Fetter, he 
was thrown from the buggy, and brought home painfully, 
but as was then supposed, not seriously injured. Confined 
to his bed for about two weeks, he appeared to be recovering, 
when on the morning of the 27th he suddenly fainted, and 
expired without pain. 

He was in the full possession of all his faculties up to the 
last moment, and died at peace with all the world; a fitting- 
close to a life of beneficence and integrity. There is a melan- 
choly coincidence in the manner of his death with that of his 
two oldest friends and colaborers in the faculty who had pre- 
ceded him over the river, and were " resting under the shade 
of the trees." Dr. Elisha Mitchell perished by falling down 
a precipice in the cataracts of the Black Mountain, June 27, 
1857. Dr. James Phillips sank down suddenly on the ros- 
trum while in the act of conducting morning prayers, and 
died without a struggle, March 14, 1867. Thus all of these 
eminent men, worthy servants of Christianity and civilization, 
died suddenly, or with some degree of violence. 

A just estimate of the talents and character of Governor 


Swain, for reasons already indicated, is not easily made plain 
to popular apprehension. By the world the term " great ' : 
is variously applied, and misapplied. It is often withheld 
when it is mostly richly deserved; not, because of the injus- 
tice of contemporaries, for personal prejudice rarely outlives 
a generation, but because men rarely appreciate the full ex- 
tent and character of the labors of a lifetime. And especially 
is this true when that life has been mainly spent in the plant- 
ing of moral seeds below the surface, which, perhaps for 
years, make no great show of the harvest which is sure to 
come. Generations are sometimes required to elapse before 
the world can see the golden sheaves which cover and adorn 
the landscape, the result of that patient and judicious plant- 

They who in life are followed by the noisy plaudits of the 
crowd, who fill the largest space in the eyes of their contem- 
poraries, and seem to tower far above their fellows, are not 
always found to have their reputation built on the securest 
foundations, nor to have left their mark on the age in which 
they lived. Erasmus was esteemed by his generation a much 
greater man than Luther. He was one of the most remark- 
able men of his century, few indeed have equaled him in 
keenness of intellect, and in depth and extent of learning. 
Yet, viewed now in the light of their labors, and the value 
and significance of their impression on the world, what a 
veritable shadow he was by the side of the plainer, less 
learned, but downright monk! Erasmus is known to the 
scholars who search for his name and works in the cyclopae- 
dias; the name and the spirit of Luther pervade and affect 
the civilization of the whole world. 

On the 21st of February, 1677, there died in a small house 
in the Hague a man whose greatness could not be measured, 
says his biographer, until humanity had moved to the proper 
prospective point at the distance of more than a century. 
The view enlarged as time rolled on, as it does to men climb- 
ing high mountains; in 1877, the world agrees to number him 
among the undoubted sons of genius, and benefactors of man- 
kind. His admirers erect a monument to his memory just 
two hundred years after his death in the same city where he 


was persecuted, excommunicated, and his works destroyed. 
His name was Spinoza. Modest, and pure, and upright, he 
had the misfortune to live two hundred years before his age, 
and to put forth fruits of genius which his fellows could not 
comprehend, and so they stamped him and them into dust as 
being unorthodox. Two centuries of progress have brought 
the world up to where Spinoza died, and it builds him a 
monument. At last, his work is seen. 

The Earl of Murray, Lord Regent of Scotland, was not 
esteemed a great man in his day. His behavior was modest, 
his abilities were apparently but moderate, and for more than 
two hundred years he has figured in history as an ordinary 
man, overlaid by the more violent and intriguing spirits of 
his time, and his character obscured and distorted by the 
glamour which surrounds the name of his beauteous but 
abandoned sister and murderess, Queen Mary. And yet 
when two centuries afterwards the spirit of philosophic his- 
tory comes to trace cause and effect, and to show the result of 
his life's work upon Protestant Christianity, and what he con- 
tributed to the domination of the English-speaking races, we 
agree at once with Mr. Eroude that he was in truth one of 
the best and greatest of men, a benefactor of mankind. 

And so it may be said of Bunyan, of Wesley, and of many 
more, whose beginnings were esteemed but of small account, 
but whose fame has continually grown brighter and brighter, 
as the world has been forced to see how wisely they builded. 

In many senses of the term Governor Swain was not a 
great man. As an author, though a man of letters, he neither 
achieved nor attempted anything lasting. As a politician, 
though he rose rapidly to the highest honors of his native 
State, he did not strikingly impress himself upon his times 
by any great speech, nor by any grand stroke of policy. In 
this respect he was inferior to many of his contemporaries 
who constituted, perhaps, the brightest cluster of names in 
our annals. As a lawyer and a judge, he occupied compara- 
tively about the same position; and as a scholar he was not to 
be distinguished, being inferior to several of his colaborers in 
the University. But in many things he was entitled to be 
called great, if we mean by that term that he so used the 


faculties lie possessed that lie raised himself beyond and 
above the great mass of his fellows. In him there was a 
rounded fullness of the qualities, intellectual and moral, 
which constitute the excellence of manhood, in a degree never 
excelled by any citizen of North Carolina whom I have per- 
sonally known, except by William A. Graham. If there was 
in Swain no one grand quality of intellect which lifted him 
out of comparison with any but the demigods of our race, 
neither was there any element so wanting as to sink him into 
or below the common mass. If there were in him no Hima- 
layan peaks of genius, piercing into the regions of everlasting 
frost and ice, neither were there any yawning chasms or slimy 
pools below the tide-waters of mediocrity. He rose from the 
plain of his fellow-men like the Alleghanies, in whose bosom 
he was born, by regular and easy gradations so easy that 
you know not how high you are until you turn to gaze back- 
ward every step surrounded by beauty and fertility until 
he rested high over all the land. If there be those who 
singly tower above him in gifts, or attainments, or distinc- 
tions, there are none whom as a whole we can contemplate 
with more interest, affection, and admiration; none whose 
work for North Carolina will prove to be more valuable, or 
more lasting, or more important to future generations; none to 
whom, at the great final review, the greeting may be more 
heartily addressed: "Servant of God, well done!'' 

No estimate of Governor Swain's walk through life should 
omit the consideration of his Christian character. It was 
especially marked by catholicity of feeling towards all good 
men of whatever name. He was accustomed to refer this to 
the circumstances of his bringing up. He would say: "My 
father was a Presbyterian elder, and an Arminian ; my mother 
was a Methodist and a Calvinist, who loved and studied 
Scott's commentary. Their house was the home for preach- 
ers of all sorts west of the Blue Ridge. Bishop Asbury 
blessed me when a child. Mr. Newton, a Presbyterian, 
taught me when a boy, and Humphrey Posey, a Baptist, used 
to pray for me when a youth. So I love all who show that 
they are Christians." 

On his death-bed he spoke often of the communion of 


saints with one another, and with their Head. He was a 
decided Presbyterian, however; he admired what he called 
"the symmetry" of the ecclesiastical system of his church; 
he dwelt on its history with great delight, and was accustomed 
to find support for his soul in times of deep distress in its inter- 
pretations of the Bible. He was a praying man, and not 
ashamed to be known as such. He first introduced the prac- 
tice of opening the regular meetings of the faculty with 
prayer. The night before he died he said of the Lord's 
Prayer: " The oftener I use it the more precious it is to me; 
it contains a whole body of divinity." 

In private life he was most upright, kind, social, and hos- 
pitable. An excellent financier, he left a handsome estate, 
even " after the war." He had a proper conception of the 
value of wealth, and ah 1 his life practiced a judicious economy, 
but he knew well both how to lend and how to give. His 
conversation was delightfully interesting and instructive, re- 
plete with anecdote, genial humor, historical incident, or liter- 
ary quotation. Few men of his associates equaled him in 
these respects, even after the infirmity of deafness had cut 
him off from much social enjoyment. 

His remains lie buried in Oakwood Cemetery, near Raleigh, 
and close beside the sleeping soldiers of the Confederacy. 
The soil of our State holds the dust of no son who loved her 
more or served her better. Peaceful be his rest, as he waits 
for the clear breaking of the day over the brow of the eternal 

The daisies prank thy grassy grave, 
Above, the dark pine branches wave ; 

Sleep on. 

Below, the merry runnel sings, 
And swallows sweep with glancing wings ; 

Sleep on, old friend, sleep on. 
Calm as a summer sea at rest, 
Thy meek hands folded on thy breast, 

Sleep on. 

Hushed into stillness life's sharp pain, 
Naught but the pattering of the rain ; 

Sleep on, dear friend, sleep on. 



There were few more exciting topics in ante-revolutionary 
times than the location of the seat of government. 

The first General Assembly, in relation to which we have 
much authentic information, met at the house of Captain 
Richard Sanderson, on Little River, in the county of Per- 
quimans, in 1715, and revised the whole body of the public 
statute law. 

The style of enactment is characteristic of the times and 
of the proprietary government: "Be it enacted by his Excel- 
lency the Palatine and the rest of the true and absolute Lords 
Proprietors of Carolina, by and with the advice and consent 
of this present General Assembly, now met at Little River, 
for the northeastern part of this province." 

Erom Little River the seat of legislation was transferred in 
1720 to the General Court House at Queen Anne's Creek, in 
Chowan Precinct, and in 1723 to Edenton. 

In 1731 the Proprietary was succeeded by the Royal Gov- 
ernment, and in 1734 the legislative will assumed a form of 
expression worthy of eastern despotism: "We pray that it 
may be enacted, and be it enacted by his Excellency, Gabriel 
Johnston, Esq., Governor, by and with the advice and con- 
sent of his Majesty's council in the General Assembly of this 

In 1741 the General Assembly met at Wilmington, but 
returned the following year to Edenton. Erom 1745 to 
1761, with the exception of a single session at Bath, it con- 
vened at ISTew Bern. In 1761 it met again at Wilmington, 
and from that time keen rivalry was maintained between 
ISTew Bern and Wilmington for metropolitan distinction, until 
quieted by the Act of 1766, authorizing the construction of 
Governor Tryon's viceregal palace at New Bern. This edi- 
fice, completed in 1770, dedicated to Sir William Draper 


and the subject of his muse in an attempt at Roman versifica- 
tion was pronounced on good authority, in 1783, superior 
to any structure of tbe kind in Britisb or Soutb America, 

During the Revolution the General Assembly met some- 
what in accordance with the exigencies of the times, at New 
Bern, Kinston, Halifax, Smithfield, Wake Court House, 
Hillsborough and Salem. 

In 1782 and 1783 the Legislature convened at Hillsbor- 
ough, and in 1784 and 1785 at New Bern, in 1786 at Fay- 
etteville, in 1787 at Tarborough, and in 1788 returned to 

In 1787 the General Assembly had resolved that it "be 
recommended to the people of the State to authorize and 
direct their representatives in the convention called to con- 
sider the Federal Constitution to fix on the place for the 
unalterable seat of government." 

The convention met at Hillsborough in August, 1788, and 
resolved that " this convention will not fix the seat of govern- 
ment at one particular point, but that it shall be left to the 
discretion of the Assembly to ascertain the exact spot, pro- 
vided always, that it shall be within ten miles of the plan- 
tation whereon Isaac Hunter now resides, in the county of 

The following editorial article is copied from the Fayette- 
ville Chronicle or North Carolina Gazette of the 29th of No- 
vember, 1790: 

" On Thursday last the bill for carrying into effect the 
Ordinance of the Convention held at Hillsborough in 1788 
for holding the future meetings of the General Assembly, 
etc., came before the House of Commons, when the question 
was put, Shall this bill pass? The House divided, and there 
appeared fifty-one for it and fifty-one against it, whereupon 
the Speaker [Mr. Cabarrus] gave his own vote, and pro- 
nounced the passage of the bill. It was then sent to the 
Senate, when that House divided, and there appeared an 
equal number of votes for and against the passage of the bill, 
whereupon the Speaker [General Lenoir] gave the casting 
vote against its passage, and the bill was rejected." 

In 1791, however, the General Assembly met at New Bern, 



and in compliance with the positive constitutional injunction, 
passed an act to carry the ordinance of 1788 into effect. The 
act provides that ten persons shall be appointed to lay off 
and locate the city within ten miles of the plantation of Isaac 
Hunter, and five persons " to cause to be built and erected 
a State-house sufficiently large to accommodate with conve- 
nience both houses of the General Assembly, at an expense 
not to exceed ten thousand pounds." 

In the following year (1792) a majority of the commis- 
sioners, to wit: Frederic Hargett, Willie Jones, Joseph Mc- 
Dowell, Thomas Blount, William Johnson Dawson, and 
James Martin, met on the 4th of April, and on the following 
day purchased of Colonel Joel Lane one thousand acres of 
land, and laid off the plan of a city, containing four hundred 
acres, arranged in five squares of four acres and two hundred 
and seventy-six lots of one acre each: Caswell Square (the 
site of the Institute for the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind), 
the northwestern; Burke (the site of the Raleigh Academy) 
[now the Governor's Mansion], the northeastern; Nash, the 
southwestern; Moore the southeastern, and Union, on which 
the State-house stands, the central square. 

The names of the towns towards which the principal streets 
ran gave them their designation, and the names of the com- 
missioners and other prominent citizens were applied to the 
others. New Bern, Hillsborough, Halifax, and Fayetteville 
streets were ninety-nine, and all the other streets sixty-six 
feet in width. 

In December, 1794, the General Assembly met in the new 
State-house for the first time. 

In 1802 an act was passed requiring the Governor to reside 
at the seat of government, and a plain two-story frame build- 
ing, painted white, and an office on the corner, were pro- 
vided 011 lot No. 131. This first gubernatorial mansion was 
subsequently the residence of the late James Coman. The 
First National Bank of North Carolina now occupies the site 
from which the first executive office and Mr. Coman's brick 
store were successively removed. 

In 1813 the General Assembly appointed Henry Potter, 
Henry Seawell, William Hinton, Nathaniel Jones, Theophilus 


Hunter, and "William Peace, commissioners to erect on the 
public lands near the city of Raleigh a convenient and com- 
modious dwelling-house for the Governor, at a cost not to 
exceed five thousand pounds, to be derived from the sale of 
lots which they were authorized to lay off, and from the sale 
of lot J^o. 131, referred to as the residence, at successive 
periods, of Governors Turner, Alexander, Williams, Stone, 
Smith, and Hawkins. 

The site selected for the new gubernatorial residence, in 
common parlance the " Palace," was near the terminus of 
Fayetteville street, directly south of and fronting the capitol, 
and just beyond the southern boundary of the city. The 
edifice was completed during Governor Miller's administra- 
tion, from 1813 to 1816, and he was the first occupant. 

In 1819, Duncan Cameron, John Winslow, Joseph Gales, 
William Robards, and Henry Potter were authorized to sell 
all or any part of the lands purchased of Joel Lane, with the 
exception of the stone-quarry, in lots to suit purchasers. The 
Governor was authorized, from the proceeds of the sale, to 
improve the State-house under the direction of the State 
architect, and in conformity with a plan which he had pre- 
pared and submitted to the General Assembly. 

The old State-house, which is believed to have been con- 
structed from the net proceeds of the sales of city lots in 1792, 
was described by a writer of the time as a huge, misshapen 
pile. In form it was substantially, so far as the body of the 
building was concerned, though on a smaller scale, very simi- 
lar to the present edifice. It was divided by broad passages 
on the ground floor from north to south and from east to 
west, intersecting in the center at right angles. The offices 
of the Secretary, Public Treasurer and Comptroller were on 
the lower floor. The Senate chamber and hall of the House 
of Commons, with the offices appurtenant, above, as at pres- 
ent. The executive office, as has been stated, was contiguous 
to the palatial residence. The passages and halls of the first 
State-house supplied all, and more than all, the accommoda- 
tion to the public contemplated by the founders of this less 
extensive, but better furnished, and more finely finished edi- 
fice [referring to Tucker Hall]. Here divine worship on the 


Sabbath, balls on festive occasions, theatrical representations, 
sleight-of-hand performances, and last but not least, fourth-of- 
July orations and fourth-of-July dinners, all found their 
places, and their votaries for a time. The construction of the 
dome, the erection of the east and west porticoes, the addi- 
tional elevation and covering of stucco given to the dingy 
exterior walls, the improvement of the interior, and especially 
the location of the statue of Washington, from the chisel of 
Canova (a noble specimen of a noble art, commemorative of 
the noblest of men), in the rotunda at the point of intersec- 
tion of the passages directly under the apex of the dome, 
converted the renovated capitol into a sightly and most attrac- 
tive edifice. There were but few of the better class of trav- 
elers, who did not pause on their passage through Raleigh, 
to behold and admire it. The improvements were designed 
by, and executed under, the supervision of Captain William 
Nichols, then recently appointed State architect, and com- 
pleted early in the summer of 1822. He was a skillful and 
experienced artist, and made the public greatly his debtor for 
a decided impulse given to architectural improvements 
throughout the State, in private as well as in public edifices. 

It was my lot on the 21st of June, 1831, to stand a helpless 
spectator, when that noble edifice, adorned with the statue 
of the father of his country, was a sheet of blinding, hissing 
flame, and to hear, amidst the almost breathless silence of the 
stupified multitude around it, the piteous exclamation of a 
child: "Poor State-house, poor statue, I so sorry." There 
were thousands of adults present as sorrowful and as powerless 
as that child. 

It was my lot as Chief Magistrate of the Commonwealth, 
on the fourth day of July, 1833, to lay the corner-stone of 
the present capitol, supposed on its completion to be the most 
magnificent structure of the kind in the Union. 

It was my lot on the morning of the 13th of April, 1865, 
as the friend and representative of Governor Vance, to find, 
on approaching the southern front of the capitol, the doors 
and windows closed, and a deeper, more dreadful silence 
shrouding the city than during the sad catastrophe to which 
I have referred. I met at the south front of the capitol, how- 


ever, a negro servant, who waited on the executive depart- 
ment, the only human being who had dared to venture beyond 
his doors. He delivered me the keys, and assisted me in open- 
ing the doors and windows of the executive office, and I took 
my station at the entrance, with a safe-conduct from General 
Sherman in my hand, prepared to surrender the capitol at 
the demand of his approaching forces. At that moment a 
band of marauders, stragglers from Wheeler's retiring cavalry, 
dismounted at the head of Fayetteville street, and began to 
sack the stores directly contiguous to and south of Dr. Hay- 
wood's residence. I apprised them immediately that Sher- 
man's army was just at hand; that any show of resistance 
might result in the destruction of the city, and urged them 
to follow their retreating comrades. A citizen, the first I saw 
beyond his threshold that morning, came up at the moment 
and united his remonstrances to mine, but all in vain, until 
I perceived, and announced, that the head of Kilpatrick's 
column was in sight. In a moment every member of the 
band, with the exception of their chivalric leader, was in the 
saddle, and his horse spurred to his utmost speed. He drew 
his bridle-rein, halted in the center of the street, and dis- 
charged his revolver until his stock of ammunition was ex- 
pended in the direction, but not in carrying distance of his 
foe, when he too fled, but attempted to run the gauntlet in 
vain. His life was the forfeit at a very brief interval. 

The remains of this bold man rest in the cemetery, cov- 
ered with garlands and bewept by beautiful maidens, little 
aware how nearly the city may have been on the verge of 
devastation, and how narrowly the fairest of their number 
may have escaped insult and death from this rash ac x of 
lawless warfare. The bones of the old North Carolinian, 
the founder of the city thus imperiled, moulder in the midst 
of other unrecorded dead, beneath the shade of a mulberry 
on his ancient domain, about as far west as those of the young 
Texan east of the capitol. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon, in company with Gov- 
ernor Graham, who had risked life and reputation in behalf 
of this community to an extent of which those who derived 
the advantage are little aware, I delivered the keys of the 


State-house to General Sherman, at the gubernatorial man- 
sion, then his headquarters, and received his assurance that 
the capitol and city should be protected, and the rights of 
private property duly regarded. 

May I be pardoned in connection with this narrative, for 
a brief reference to an incident in my personal history, illus- 
trative of the character of one of the purest, as well as the 
wisest, men I have ever known. At our first interview after 
I was elected Superior Court Judge in 1831, Mr. Gaston, 
who was then at the bar, and who, from our earliest acquain- 
tance, had treated me with the kindness of a father, after 
cordial congratulations on my elevation to the bench, took 
occasion to advise me most earnestly never to permit myself, 
except under an overpowering sense of public duty, to be 
seduced into a return to political life. He said he was grow- 
ing old, and endeavored, as much as possible, to withdraw 
attention from the threatening aspect of public affairs, but 
there were sleepless hours, when he could not avoid reflection 
on the utter heartlessness of party politicians, and the diffi- 
culty of preserving a conscience void of offense, when ming- 
ling in political controversies that he had always endeavored 
to place country above party, and that yet, on a calm review 
of his whole course of life, too many instances presented 
themselves, when he convicted himself of having been in- 
fluenced to an extent of which he had no suspicion at the 
moment, by other than purely patriotic considerations. In 
addition to all this, it had been his fate on repeated occasions 
to be most loudly applauded for what, in his own conscience, 
he regarded as least praiseworthy, and to be bitterly reviled 
for what he considered to have been the purest and most dis- 
creet acts of his public life. 

In 1812, and along about that time, the only newspapers 
in Raleigh were The Raleigh Register and The Star, both 
published weekly. Tlie Minerva had been discontinued. 

From 1Y92 until the publication of The Raleigh Register, 
in the autumn of 1799, The North Carolina Journal was 
the great advertising medium for the portion of the State 
north and west of Halifax. 

Conspicuous among the merchant princes of that day were 


the brothers, Joseph and William Peace. They occupied a 
one-story frame building, perhaps 20x24, nearly opposite to 
W. C. and R. Tucker. The junior partner informed me 
many years ago that he had ordinarily purchased goods twice 
a year, always for cash, and always at ten per cent, discount, 
and that the advantage thus obtained over those who bought 
upon credit was the nucleus of the large estate he had real- 
ized. He was kind enough in October, 1822, as soon as T 
was able to travel, after recovering from severe illness, to 
drive me from Raleigh to the hospitable mansion of the late 
General Calvin Jones, the present site of Wake Forest Col- 
lege. On the way he related various incidents in his personal 
history, which interested me. Referring to the success of an 
eminent lawyer and statesman, as estimable in private as 
distinguished in public life, he stated that that gentleman, 
who was licensed to practice law during his minority, applied 
to him shortly thereafter for a suit of clothes upon credit; 
that he had always made it a rule to meet such requests with 
such prompt compliance as to impress the applicant with a 
grateful sense of the confidence reposed, or, with so blank a 
denial as to shield him from future annoyance. In this in- 
stance he admitted that he hesitated. The appearance and 
manner of the applicant impressed him most favorably, but 
he was very young as well as very needy, and the Captain had 
learned from previous experience that the young lawyer's 
prospects were a contingent remainder, which required a par- 
ticular estate of freehold to support them. It afforded him 
great gratification to remember that his kind impulses pre- 
vailed, and that he cut off the goods with great seeming cheer- 

I had no suspicion until three months afterwards that the 
story could point a moral in relation to myself. At the close 
of a casual interview, after the recovery of my health, he 
said : " Mr. Swain, perhaps it is convenient for you to pay for 
that suit of clothes now." " What suit, Captain? " " The suit 
you purchased some time since." I replied, " T never bought 
anything of you in my life but one bandanna handkerchief, 
and I paid for that when I got it." He turned to his book 
and showed me an account for a full suit of black, dated 


September 10. " On that day, Captain, I was sick in bed, 
and my life despaired of by my physicians." " Oh ! I remem- 
ber it was F- - got the clothes." He was sent for, and in 
reply to my inquiry whether he ever got a suit of clothes for 
me, replied he did. " Had you any order from me to do 
so? " "No, sir; but you were expected to die every hour, I 
knew you had no burial suit, and thought it my duty, as your 
tailor, to provide one." " Where are the clothes? " " When 
I found you were getting well I sold them." " What right 
had you to consider yourself my tailor?" "I made a pair 
of pantaloons for you last spring." At the close of the dia- 
logue the Captain remarked: "I claim nothing from you, 
Mr. Swain." The tailor left the store under the decided 
impression that his best interests would be served by a prompt 
settlement of the account. Had I died, a punctual but not 
opulent father, would have paid the bill upon presentation 
without inquiry. 

The late William Boylan, the first editor of The Raleigh 
Minerva, and the immediate successor of Colonel Polk as 
President of the State Bank, was a gentleman sedate and 
grave in manner to a degree that to a stranger might have 
been taken for austerity. Traveling from Raleigh to Pitts- 
borough about 1800, he and Mr. Peace, on reaching the 
election ground at Brassfields, found a multitude assembled 
engaged in dancing and other rural sports, in the free-and- 
easy manner characteristic of the time and place. Mr. Peace 
was comparatively at home. Mr. Boylan stood aloof until 
a rowdy approached and invited him to enter the ring with 
the dancers. On his declining, a dozen came forward, pre- 
pared to coerce the submission of the proud aristocrat. In 
an instant Mr. Peace, with great solemnity, beckoned the 
leader of the band aside, and whispered: "My friend, be 
careful how you act. Bless your life, that is Mr. Boylan, 
the man who made the almanac, and can foretell eclipses and 
thunder-storms." The reference to the almanac-maker secured 
at once the most deferential respect for the distinguished 

The late William Glendennin (one of the old merchants) 
resided and did business during many years in the house 


nearly opposite the old State Bank, the recent residence of 
Colonel William J. Clarke. He built a meeting-house at his 
own expense at a very early period in the history of the city, 
and during a series of years previous to the erection of any 
other church, ministered in his peculiar manner at his own 
altar, without earthly fee or reward, to all who chose to hear 
him. His deserted tabernacle was pointed out to me, when 
I first knew Raleigh, standing a little south of the corner, at 
the intersection of Morgan with Blount street. I remember 
to have seen, in my early boyhood, his autobiography, re- 
counting numerous conflicts, spiritual and physical, with the 
arch-enemy of the human race. His little volume is probably 
out of print. It would be a rare curiosity, at the present 
time, in many respects. ISTotwith standing these vagaries, he 
was shrewd and systematic in business, and in due time accu- 
mulated a handsome fortune for that day. His eccentricities 
increased, however, to such an extent that a guardianship be- 
came necessary, and Mr. Boylan was selected as the person 
possessing the requisite nerve and tact to control and man- 
age him. 

As soon as Glendennin was apprised of the arrangement 
his confidential clerk, the late Robert Harrison, was dis- 
patched to invite Mr. Boylan to his house. When he entered, 
Glendennin requested him to take a book from the mantel- 
piece, which proved to be the Bible, and it disclosed, at open- 
ing, a fifty-dollar bill. " The foul fiend was here last night 
and told me that he had come for the soul of old . 

T obtained a year's respite for fifty dollars, and the fiend is 
to take the money from that book at midnight." Glancing 
his eye inquiringly at Mr. Boylan, " I understand that you 
are my guardian, and I wish to know how I am to act, and 
what I am to do?" Mr. Boylan intimated that as little 
change as possible would be made in the management of his 
affairs. " Mr. Harrison will keep the keys, sell goods, and 
collect debts, as heretofore." " Am I to be master of my own 
house? " "Certainly." "May I invite any one I choose 
into my house? " " Oh, yes; just as heretofore." "May I 
order a man out, when I don't want him here?" No sooner 
had Mr. Boylan given an intimation in the affirmative than 


Glendennin, with a frenzied glare, stamping his foot, and 
clenching his fist, cried out: " Then, sir, get out of my house; 
get out of my house, this instant! ' 

The poor old gentleman died in the summer of 1816, leav- 
ing a very pretty property for two nieces in Scotland. 

The recent abstraction of records from the executive and 
other public offices, by persons acting under the authority of 
the Federal Government, renders it impossible to give as 
minute an account of an interesting event as I would like to 
present. As I must relate the circumstances entirely from 
memory, after the lapse of more than thirty years from the 
time the records were at my command, allowance must 
be made for a want of precision, especially as to dates. 

During Governor Ashe's administration, embracing the 
years 1796, 1797, and 1798, it was ascertained that numer- 
ous frauds had been perpetrated in the office of the Secre- 
tary of State and the offices of John and Martin Armstrong, 
in the entry and survey of western lands, and active exer- 
tions were made to discover and arrest the offenders in this 
State and Tennessee. It was, I think, in 1797, that a confi- 
dential messenger was sent by Judges Tatum and McNairy 
from Nashville to the Governor to warn him of a conspiracy 
to burn the State-house, in order to destroy the records, the 
production of which upon the trial was indispensable to the 
conviction of the offenders. A guard was armed and sta- 
tioned around the capitol for the next two months. The 
communication from Nashville requested the Governor, imme- 
diately on its receipt, to erase from the despatch the name 
of the messenger who bore it, as any discovery of his connec- 
tion with it would lead to assassination. This was done so 
carefully as to elude every effort on my part to restore and 
ascertain it, thirty years ago, and I have not at the present 
moment the slightest suspicion of the agent who overheard 
the plot of the conspirators in Knoxville and was sent from 
Nashville to Raleigh on this secret and dangerous mission. 

The earliest letter I ever saw from General Jackson was in 
relation to this affair. With his instinctive hatred of fraud, 
he tendered his service to the Governor in any effort that 
might be necessary to arrest the offenders who were supposed 


to have sought refuge in the then Spanish domains in the 
direction of Mobile. This letter was on file in the executive 
office in 1835. 

In 1797, according to my remembrance, on the night 
when the ball was given at Casso's hotel to the bridal party, 
very shortly after the second marriage of the Public Treasurer, 
the festivities were interrupted by the hasty entrance of a 
servant, with the information that some one was forcing an 
entrance into the window of the office, where the trunk con- 
taining the records in question was deposited. He was 
caught, was ascertained to be the slave of one of the persons 
charged with fraud, was convicted of burglary, and executed. 

In 1799 the General Assembly passed the act directing the 
Judges of the Superior Courts to meet together to settle ques- 
tions of law and equity arising upon their circuits, and to 
provide for the trial of all persons concerned in the commis- 
sion of frauds in the several land offices. This act was care- 
fully and skillfully drawn, consisted of fifteen sections, and, 
voluminous as it was, contained more than met the eye of the 
ordinary observer: the germ of the present Supreme Court, 
notwithstanding the proviso in the closing section, " that this 
act shall continue in force from its commencement only for 
two years, and from thence to the end of the next succeeding 
General Assembly " was contained in that act. ' 

Under the provisions of this act Colonel James Glasgow, 
the Secretary of State, was indicted for a misdemeanor in the 
fraudulent issue of land-warrants. The four judges of the 
Superior Courts were John Haywood, Spruce Macay, John 
Louis Taylor, Samuel Johnston. Blake Baker was Attor- 
ney-General, and Edward Jones, Solicitor-General. The lat- 
ter seems to have been mainly relied on to conduct the prose- 

The commission under which the court was held was 
drawn by Judge Haywood. While on his way to Raleigh 
to meet his brother judges he accepted a fee of one thousand 
dollars, resigned his seat upon the bench, and undertook the 
defense of Glasgow. 

There has rarely convened from that day to this, even after 
the resignation of Haywood, an abler tribunal, on any occa- 


sion, or for any purpose, than that which tried and convicted 
the distinguished culprit. In relation to the advocate the 
late Judge Hall remarks in a judicial opinion delivered in 
1828: "I shall not treat with disrepect the memory of the 
dead nor the pretensions of the living, when I say that a 
greater criminal lawyer than Judge Haywood never sat upon 
the bench in North Carolina." The General Assembly in 
anticipation of the judgment of the court, in 1799, changed 
the name of the county of Glasgow, erected in 1791, to the 
county of Greene. 

Duncan Cameron, at the early age of twenty-three, was the 
clerk, and immediately after the close of the trial reported 
and published the decisions of the court in an octavo of one 
hundred and eight pages. As I have the only copy I have 
ever seen of this brochure, the earliest, with the exception 
of Martin and 1 Haywood, in the entire series of North 
Carolina Reports, I give for the benefit of legal antiquarians 
an exact copy of the title-page: "Reports of cases determined 
by the Judges of the Superior Courts of law and Court of 
Equity of the State of North Carolina, at their meeting on 
10th of June, A. D. 1800, held pursuant to an act of the 
General Assembly for settling questions of law and equity 
arising on the circuit, by Duncan Cameron, attorney at law, 
Raleigh. From the press of Hodge & Boylan, printers to the 
State, 1800." 

In 1800 an act was passed to continue in force the Act of 
1799, three years longer. The sessions of the court by the 
former act were limited to ten days ; they were now extended 
to fifteen days (Sundays excepted) if the business of the court 
should so require. The third section of the act is in the 
following words: "And be it further enacted that no attor- 
ney shall be allowed to speak or be admitted as counsel in 
the aforesaid court." The General Assembly must have en- 
tertained a high opinion of the ability and purity of the 
bench, and serious misgivings in relation to the cunning and 
crafty bar of which John Haywood was the leader. 

The late Judge Hall told me that he was present when 
Joshua Williams, senator from Buncombe, called upon Gov- 
ernor Turner for advice in relation to the extension of the 


lease of life to this high tribunal. The Governor urged the 
continuance of the court until the other offenders could be 
arrested and tried, and the remaining questions of doubt and 
difficulty in the law be put finally at rest. My good senator, 
and there were few as good men as he in any age of the com- 
monwealth, assented, under the entire conviction that a little 
longer time was necessary to enable the judges to render the 
law so clear and certain, that no perplexing questions would 
arise in the future. He was probably more confident of a 
consummation so devoutly to be wished, since the court was 
neither to be annoyed nor perplexed by the arguments of such 
lawyers as Haywood. 

Iredell, the greatest of Haywood's compeers was in his 
grave. Moore was Iredell's successor on the Supreme Court 
Bench of the United States, and Davie had on the 24th of 
December, 1799, been appointed Envoy Extraordinary and 
^Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States to the French 
Eepublic as successor of Patrick Henry, who had been com- 
pelled to decline on account of bodily infirmity. 

In 1804, the court, which since 1801 had been styled the 
Court of Conference, was made a court of record, the judges 
required to reduce their opinions to writing, to file them " and 
deliver the same viva voce in open court." In the following 
year (1805) the name was changed from the Court of Con- 
ference to the Supreme Court of North Carolina, and con- 
verted from a temporary to a permanent, I hope immortal, 
tribunal, in fame as in duration. 

The senator from Buncombe, and the great advocate Hay- 
wood, removed to Tennessee no great while afterwards. The 
former lived long enough in the midst of the legal strife 
which abounded in that young and rising commonwealth to 
find that the end of controversy, like the end of the rainbow, 
was not easily reached; and the latter to reap golden har- 
vests of fame and fortune from the " glorious uncertainty of 
the common law. 7 ' 

When I first saw the Supreme Court in session in June, 
1822, Chief Justice Taylor, the Mansfield of North Carolina 
jurisprudence, Judge Hall, proverbial for integrity, amia- 
bility and sound common sense, and Judge Henderson, who in 


genius, judgment and power of fascination in social inter- 
course, was without his peer, were the three judges. William 
Drew, standing on the thin partition which divides great wit 
and frenzy, was the Attorney-General. Francis L. Hawks, 
who had not yet attained the 25th year of his age had already 
given favorable promise of future eminence as a member of 
the JSTew Bern bar, the representative of that town in the 
General Assembly, was the reporter. Hawks was destined 
however to a much wider celebrity in a very different sphere, 
and for many years previous to his death, as a brilliant writer 
and eloquent speaker, had a higher transatlantic reputation 
than any other American divine. 

The bar in attendance in those days was much less numer- 
ous than at present. He was a young man of rare self-com- 
placency, who would imperil a rising reputation in a contest 
with the sages of the profession before that tribunal. I well 
remember the remark of a gentleman, second as an advocate 
in the Superior Courts to no one of his contemporaries, that 
he never rose in the Supreme Court without trembling, and 
never ventured to do more than simply to suggest the princi- 
ples, and give the names of the cases and authorities upon 
which he relied. 

Of those in attendance, Gaston, from the east, was facile 
princeps, Archibald Henderson, probably the most eloquent 
and successful advocate in criminal defenses who ever appear- 
ed at the bar in North Carolina, was the great representative 
of the middle, and Joseph Wilson of the extreme west, Judge 
Murphy and Judge Ruffin represented Ilillsborough, and 
Judge Seawell, Gavin Hogg and Moses Mordecai, the Raleigh 
circuit. Mr. Badger was just attaining the fulness of fame 
while the youngest of the Superior Court judges, and Peter 
Browne, the head of the bar, before Mr. Gaston assumed his 
position, was deciding cases with unprecedented facility and 
despatch as chairman of Wake County Court. 

Mr. Devereux was the District Attorney for the United 
States. James F. Taylor, with the most brilliant prospects, 
died six years afterwards, Attorney-General of North Caro- 
lina at the early age of 37. 

With the present organization of the Supreme Court, in 


January, 1819, commenced a gradual change in the length 
of time consumed in the management of causes, in that and 
the subordinate tribunals which continues to increase in mi 
accelerating ratio, and which ought to be diminished. 

The Act of 1799, limited the sessions of the Court of Con- 
ference to ten days, the Act of 1800 extended them to fifteen 
days exclusive of Sundays. At one time, as we have seen, 
no arguments were allowed, and throughout the entire exis- 
tence of the court discussions were of necessity commendably 

Peter Browne, with an ample fortune and very high repu- 
tation, relinquished his professional pursuits at the compara- 
tively early age of fifty-five. Selling the Lane residence, and 
his well-selected library to his friend, Mr. Boylan, in the 
summer of 1818, he returned to Scotland to spend the even- 
ing of his life amidst the romantic scenes of his native 
country. An absence of three years proved that the ties 
which bound him to Raleigh were stronger than those which 
bound him to his birthplace. He came back and resided 
here until his death in November, 1832. In 1821, he 
accepted the appointment of justice of the peace, and was 
during several years chairman of Wake County Court. 

I remember to have heard him complain of the dilatory 
proceedings of the courts, and especially of the time lawyers 
were permitted to consume in argument, as a grievous inno- 
vation on ancient usages, and to asseverate most solemnly 
that there was one court in North Carolina where no such 
indulgence would be allowed. All who remember his admin- 
istration, will admit that few and brief were the arguments 
heard in Wake County Court in his day. 

My professional experience of ten years, eight at the bar, 
and two upon the bench, closed in December 1832. During 
this period I rode the Morganton, Hillsborough, Raleigh, and 
Edenton Circuits, and met at intervals nearly every eminent 
lawyer in the State. I can recall no instance when more 
than a day was occupied with the trial of a cause. 

Judge Cameron, the immediate successor of Mr. Browne 
as president of the State Bank, was, during the last twenty 
years of his life, a citizen of Raleigh. He came to the bar 


at the age of twenty-one in 1798, was appointed judge in 
February 1814, resigned December 1816, engaged imme- 
diately in agricultural pursuits, and the performance of all 
the duties which properly devolved on eminent citizens in 
private life, and preeminent among these was the discharge 
of the duties of presiding magistrate of the County Court of 

He had not attained his fortieth year when he retired from 
the bench of the Superior Court. 

During the fifteen years that he practiced law, his pro- 
fessional emoluments were probably greater than fell to the 
lot of any other North Carolina lawyer, at so early a period 
of life, and to none were honors and emoluments more justly 

Mr. Badger, alike eminent as a jurist and a statesman, fol- 
lowing Mr. Browne, was, during a series of years chairman 
in Wake ; and Chief Justice Ruffin (a citizen of Raleigh from 
1828 to 1834), simultaneously with Mr. Badger's services 
here, was chairman of the County Court in Alamance. 

Of the eminent lawyers who have appeared at our bar 
during the present century, to no one living or dead has 
greater length of days, crowned by more brilliant success in 
all walks of life, been accorded, than to the four great men 
who closed their professional career by the gratuitous, grace- 
ful, able, and impartial discharge of the important duties 
pertaining to the office of justice of the peace. 

While I can make no positive averment, I am very confi- 
dent in the opinion that during the time that Judges Badger, 
Cameron, and Ruffin presided on the Superior and County 
Court bench, no case tried before them ever occupied more 
than a single day. 

Mr. Browne, as appears from the graveyard record, died at 
the age of sixty-seven. Mr. Badger had entered upon his 
seventy-second, and Judge Cameron his seventy-sixth year. 
Chief Justice Ruffin, in the possession of unimpaired intel- 
lectual strength, is an octogenarian. 

In 1806, five years after the conviction of Glasgow, the 
great case of Lord Granville's heirs versus Governor Davie 
and others, which threatened a more extensive confiscation 


than that menaced in our time, was argued before the Federal 
Court in this city by Gaston and Harris for the plaintiffs, 
and Cameron, Woods, and Baker for the State of North 
Carolina. Potter, District Judge, charged the jury; Mar- 
shall, Cliief Justice, from personal considerations, peremptor- 
ily declining to sit upon the trial. 

Marshall is the only Revolutionary Titan I have ever seen. 
With fair opportunities to judge of him as he appeared upon 
the bench, and in social intercourse sixteen years afterwards, 
I can pronounce with emphasis, that I never expect to look 
upon his like again. 

I sometimes feel apprehensive that I will become old my- 
self before a great while, when my memory recurs to the time 
when Cliief Justice Ruffin was one of the promising young 
men of my day. In 1822, when a student in Chief Justice 
Taylor's office, occupied by Mr. Gaston during the sessions 
of the Federal and Supreme Courts, Ithiel Town, the archi- 
tect who planned the present capitol and who had an import- 
ant suit pending in the Federal Court against the Clarendon 
Bridge Company, inquired of Mr. Gaston whether Mr. Ruffin 
would be acceptable to him as associate counsel. He replied: 
" No one more so ; Mr. Ruffin is a very promising young 
man, and if he lives ten years longer will be at the head of 
the profession." The prediction was fully verified at an 
earlier date. 

Rarely since the completion of the. Pentateuch has full 
historic justice been meted out to woman. The character of 
the great father of the human race is not more fully and 
clearly delineated by Moses than that of its beautiful mother. 
The termagant Sarah received quite as much attention as the 
father of the faithful. Hagar is the heroine of an episode, 
the most beautiful in the annals of history, with the single 
exception of the narrative of the maternal tenderness of 
Naomi, and the filial love and devotion of Ruth, the fas- 
cinating little widow, whose charms dissolved the obdurate 
celibacy of the sage, opulent and stately Boaz. The crafty 
and managing Rebecca is finely contrasted with the confiding 
Isaac ; and the beautiful Rachel, from the moment that Jacob 
gave his first kiss " and lifted up his voice and wept," as a 



bride, and a mother with Joseph at her side in his little coat 
of many colors and his stainless virtue, constitutes in life and 
in death, the most charming picture on the historical canvas 
of any age or country. 

Why are not similar pictures presented in modern times? 
Moses was inspired. Subjects are not wanting worthy of 
historic inspiration. Has an abler monarch than Elizabeth, or 
a more estimable sovereign than Victoria ever given character 
and strength and grace to the British throne? Was "the 
man of destiny " superior to Josephine? Is the Empress of 
France inferior to Napoleon III. ? 

We are told that the heroic Wolfe while passing down the 
St. Lawrence on his way to " glory and the grave," closed 
the recitation of the inimitable " elegy " with the remark 
that he would gladly exchange all the renown he had acquired 
or hoped to achieve for the fame of the authorship of those 
verses, and yet Gray makes no reference to the spot where 
all the mothers of the hamlet sleep. 

I have recently wandered through your cemetery, pausing 
and lingering here and there, at the tombs of familiar acquain- 
tances and intimate friends, and realized the truth, that if 
I could summon the departed around me, I would stand in 
the midst of more numerous friends than I meet at the 
present day in the crowded streets of your living city. 

I trust I shall be suspected of no want of gallantry to the 
living if I venture to intimate that among the nymphs that 
illuminate the page of memory and imagination, I find pic- 
tures of beauty and grace and refinement quite equal to the 
best specimens of modern times, or even, in poetic hallucina- 
tion, " some brighter days than modern days, some fairer 
maids than living maids." 

Captain Peace reposes by the side of his aged brother with- 
out as yet a stone to tell his name. He was, I suppose, at 
the time of his death, the oldest citizen of Raleigh, as well 
as the oldest man who has passed from the living city to the 
city of the dead. I have never yet met with a man whom 
I supposed to be a hundred years old. Various colored per- 
sons have represented themselves of greater age, but their 
computations would not bear scrutiny. The late William 


Henry Haywood, the elder, died at the age of eighty-seven, 
and Mrs. Haywood in her ninetieth year. 

The honored name of their only son, the late Senator in 
Congress, was given at the baptismal font to the senior pro- 
prietor of Tucker Hall, in admiration of early promise, by a 
discerning father. The suit of clothes presented to the child 
by the Senator in acknowledgment of the compliment, is in 
a state of perfect preservation, and will be kept as an inter- 
esting illustration of the habits and customs of other days. 
We are to be instructed by grave lecturers in every depart- 
ment of science and art; shall we not have a miniature mu- 
seum, a portrait gallery and a niche for the preservation of 
specimens of the antique, among which the best bib and 
tucker of earlier times may find an appropriate place? 

John Rex was one of the earliest citizens of Raleigh. My 
acquaintance with him was .slight. In appearance he was 
said to bear striking resemblance to John Quincy Adams. 
He was a grave, sedate, quiet, retiring, modest man, not 
unlike in character to his worthy contemporary William 
Peck. By long years of industry, economy and thrift in the 
management of the first tannery established in Raleigh at 
Rex's spring, near the railway station, he accumulated a hand- 
some estate, and like Mr. Peace, atoned for his failure to build 
up a family, by a liberal provision for the children of mis- 
fortune and want. He manumitted all his slaves at the close 
of life, and bequeathed the remainder of his estate to the 
endowment of a hospital, the construction of which is under- 
stood to be in early prospect. 

The Rex Hospital and Peace Institute, the latter far ad- 
vanced towards completion, will constitute the appropriate 
and enduring monuments of these public benefactors. Mr. 
Rex died January 29, 1839, aged seventy-four years. 

As scant justice is done to the memory of the ladies who 
repose in the cemetery, as is accorded to their sex on the page 
of modern history. The memorials are few, and the infor- 
mation given comparatively meagre. 

Of the eighty-nine counties in North Carolina, nearly all 
perpetuate the names of men. Two only, Wake and Jones, 
are graced with the maiden names of women, the wives of 


Governor Tyron and Governor Nash. There are not less 
significant indications of the want of liberality from the 
sterner towards the gentler sex. Four-fifths of the wills that 
I have had occasion to construe, give to the " dear wife " a 
portion of the estate pared down to the narrowest limit that 
the law will allow, " during life or widowhood." So uni- 
versal and inveterate is this phraseology, that a somewhat 
famous parson in the county of Gates, some years ago at the 
funeral of her husband, poured forth a most fervent suppli- 
cation, that the bereaved wife might u be blessed in he<r basket 
and her store during life or widowhood." 

I know but a single instance, the will of a distinguished 
American statesman, Gouverneur Morris, which provides a 
largely increased annuity to the widow in case of a second 

Jacob Marling was the first portrait and landscape painter, 
and various specimens of his art are now extant, among others 
a picture of the State-house as it was anterior to the fire of 
1831. It graces the parlor of Dr. F. J. Haywood. 

The following narrative of the celebration of the thirty- 
third anniversary of American Independence, is from the pen 
of General Calvin Jones, one of the most useful men of his 
day. A careful examination of all the details will present 
to the mind a more life-like picture of what your city was 
in all the aspects of society in 1809 than can possibly be 
produced by the most elaborate attempt at description by a 
modern pen. Compare and contrast it with the scenes ex- 
hibited and the events which occurred on an anniversary 
fifty-eight years thereafter, and in due time make suitable 
preparation for the proper observance of a day still dear to 
every patriotic bosom. 

" The thirty-third anniversary of American Independence 
was celebrated in this city in the usual manner on the 4th 
inst. At 12 o'clock a procession of citizens and strangers, 
with Captain Willie Jones' troop of cavalry at the head, 
formed at the court-house, agreeable to previous arrange- 
ments, and directed by Captain Scott, proceeded up Fayette- 
ville street to the State-house, during the ringing of the 
State-house, court-house, academy and town bells, and fir- 


ing of cannon. Being seated in the Commons' Chamber, 
an ode in honor of that day, composed for the occasion, was 
sung by a choir of about seventy voices, conducted by Mr. 
Seward, accompanied by a band of instrumental music. 

" The Rev. Mr. Turner then rose and delivered an oration 
on the merits of which we shall at present forbear to speak 
as we intend to solicit a copy for publication, and hope in our 
next to present it as a very acceptable treat to our readers. 
At the conclusion another patriotic ode was sung. 

" At 3 o'clock the company sat down to an excellent dinner 
prepared by Mr. Casso at the State-house, at which Colonel 
Polk and Judge Potter presided. Seventeen appropriate 
toasts were drunk, among which we notice the following: 
' The President of the United States, may his administration 
close as it has commenced, with the applause and general 
approbation of the people.' 

" ' George "Washington, the hero, patriot, statesman, friend 
and father of his country, the memory of his inestimable 
worth and service will never cease to be revered by the 
American people.' 

" e Literature, the arts and sciences, the precursors of 
national greatness and universal happiness.' 

" ( The University of North Carolina, may the people see 
and fully understand the great interest they have in this insti- 
tution, and before it is too late duly foster and endow it.' 

" ' The Constitution of North Carolina, the happy, wise 
and revered work of our ancestors, long may it remain sacred 
and inviolate.' 

" ' The social circles of life, may no discordant interests or 
variant opinions be suffered to destroy their harmony.' 

" The Supreme Court of the State being in session, the 
celebration was honored with the presence of the judges, 
gentlemen of the bar and many other characters of respecta- 
bility from almost every part of the State. 

" In the evening a ball was given to the ladies." 

Of all the joyous throng that crowded these streets at that 

national jubilee fifty-eight years ago, whose bosoms thrilled 

responsive to the patriotic sentiments of the orator of the day, 

or who gathered round the festive board of all the gallant 


men and beautiful women who united in the exultant song or 
chased the flying hours in that evening's dance, there is prob- 
ably not one present now, not one to contrast the spectacle 
then presented of a great, free, united, and happy people, with 
their discordant, dissevered relations in 1867! 

"'A King sat on his rocky throne 

Which looked on sea-born Salamis, 
And ships by thousands lay below 

And men and nations ; all were his ! 
He counted them at break of day, 
And when the sun set, where were they ? 

And where are they and where art thou, 
My country ? On thy voiceless shore 

The statesman's tongue is silent now, 
The heroic bosom beats no more ! " 

Let us hope that when we meet here on the 4th of July, 
1868, Southern voices will again have been heard in the halls 
of Congress, and that millions of Southern hearts, as in for- 
mer days, will be prepared to respond, " Liberty and Union, 
now and forever, one and inseparable." 

I heard Governor Vance deliver his address on Swain, 
which I have called a sketch, at the Chapel Hill Commence- 
ment of 1877. I well remember the low melancholv and the 


effortless pathos of his voice. 

Governor Swain was his friend, and fortunate is he indeed 
to have had such a kind and able hand to sketch his life. 

The foregoing estimate of Swain's character and methods 
does not receive the unanimous endorsement of all who knew 
him. He was thought by some to have been guilty of 
favoritism, to have lacked nerve for discipline, and to have 
shown too great partiality for families of wealth and influence. 
But he rendered a service to the State in writing and pre- 
serving some memorials of her history. He held the most 
important position she could bestow for many years, 


until his death; and his regime illustrated the defects of a 
system which prevented the University from being directly 
and entirely dependent on the people for its support. 

Vance put him among the distinguished men of North 
Carolina, and for this, if for no other reason, I could afford to 
put him in this book. Posterity will not lightly overrule the 
verdict of its greatest commoner, even though rendered in 
the partiality of affection. 

Although no sketch of Vance is in this book (his life, in a 
more extended form, having been lately written), yet Bryan's 
estimate of him, spoken in the House of Representatives, Feb- 
ruary 25, 1895, is not an inappropriate introduction of the 
man who has contributed to history the foregoing sketch of 
Swain if indeed there be any part of the Union where he 
needs an introduction, even from the lips of one who has 
canvassed the whole country. Besides, it would be offensive 
to North Carolinians if I should even begin a list of our dis- 
tinguished dead without according to Vance his well-won 
place among the foremost. 


MR. SPEAKER: We are called upon on these occasions to 
speak of the virtues of many different types of men. Some- 
times one is taken from us who has spent the most of his days 
in private business and has come to these halls to crown with 
public honors a busy life. Sometimes we are called to mourn 
a man taken from us in the very beginning of his career, and 
consider what he might have accomplished had he lived. But 
it is seldom that, in either of these halls, we find a man whose 
life was so completely given to public service as was the life 
of Senator Yance. He began his public career when a young 
man barely of age, and he has been a public servant from 
that time, almost without pause, until his earthly life was 
ended. In the history of our country I think we shall find 
few men as remarkable. When a man is elected once or twice 
and disappears, we may attribute his success to circumstances; 
but when he begins, as Mr. Vance began, a young man, and 
retains the confidence of those whom he served for a genera- 
tion, we must conclude that his success is due to something 
more than a chance or accident. 

Senator Vance was a " leader among men." Few in our 
day, or in our history even, have better earned that distinc- 
tion. He was a leader among men and naturally so. He 
had those characteristics which could not fail to make him a 
leader, not self-appointed, but chosen by common consent. 
He was a wise man. He was able to estimate causes and cal- 
culate effects. He was able to foresee what would come to 
pass, because he understood men that is necessary in a leader. 
We rely upon the Infinite because we are finite. We fool the 
limitations of our own knowledge, and we long to find some 
one who knows more and can see further than we. Among 
men, we naturally turn to the one who can foresee events, 
as a child turns to a parent for advice. It was not the ex- 
perience of age which he possessed, it was a sort of intuitive 


judgment, an instinct for truth, that made him see in ad- 
vance what others only found out afterwards. 

It has been mentioned here to-day that when the late civil 
war was about to break out he was able to survey the whole 
ground and see what would be the necessary result, and that 
he told his people what that result would be. He did this, 
too, when a young man younger than any of us who are on 
this floor to-day and time proved his wisdom. So, coming 
on down, as each new crisis arose, as each new force began its 
work upon society, he seemed to be able to calculate what was 
coming, and every time his judgment was justified by events 
his hold upon popular confidence increased. 

"When the Fifty-third Congress was convened in extra ses- 
sion in August, 1893, no man in this country more clearly 
foresaw the course of events and more clearly predicted the 
results of the proposed financial policy. He talked with his 
associates; he wrote to his people, he told them just what the 
effect would be upon the party with which he was identified, 
and whose name he loved. 

Not only was he wise, but he was courageous. And cour- 
age is a characteristic, too, in a leader of men. He had the 
courage to assume responsibility. He shirked no duty. What 
he believed he said, and he was willing to stand or fall by 
the correctness of his conclusions. Jefferson, in speaking of 
some man, said that he had not learned the sublime truth that 
a bold, unequivocal virtue is the best, handmaid even unto 
ambition. Zebulon B. Yance had learned that sublime truth. 
He knew, while trimming one's sails to catch a passing breeze 
may help temporarily, there is nothing which is permanently 
of aid to a public man except standing by his convictions. 
I have no doubt he had ambition ; but from what I have been 
able to read and learn of him, it was a laudable ambition 
which every man in this country may well possess, an ambi- 
tion to do his duty everywhere, an ambition to deserve well, 
to have what he deserved and nothing more. 

He had more than wisdom and courage; he had that with- 
out which wisdom and courage would have been of no avail: 
he loved the people whom he would lead. And it was no 
condescending love either. It was no stooping down to some 


one beneath him. He really believed in the equality of men, 
and that those among whom he associated were his brethren. 
He shared their hopes, their aims, and their ambitions. He 
felt their woes and he knew their joys. He was one of them, 
and the people loved him because they knew that he loved 
them. They trusted him because they knew that he trusted 
them. In building upon the affections of the people he built 
upon the only sure foundation. 

It has been said that the most sincere tribute that can be 
paid to a man is that which is paid at his grave. Some may 
fear him while he lives, and therefore show him attention; 
or others may desire to court his favor. When we see appar- 
ent friendship for the great we do not always know what 
motives may be behind it. But when a man is dead and is 
impotent longer to injure or to aid, when men gather round 
his grave and manifest their love, then we know that their 
affection is disinterested. And I believe it can be said that 
no man in this country ever enjoyed the sincere affection of 
a larger proportion of the people whom he served than Mr. 

But he was not only a leader of men, he was an orator of 
great influence. ISTot that, on dress parade, he was the best 
man to put up for a public speech, but he was one of the 
great orators because he possessed two of the characteristics 
of the orator; he knew what he was talking about when he 
talked, and he believed what he said. He who believes what 
he says will move others; and he who knows what he is talk- 
ing about will convince others. Not only did he impart 
knowledge surcharged with earnestness, but he possessed rare 
ability in making the truth pleasant to receive. 

He was a statesman as well as a leader of men and an 
orator. As a statesman he was devoted to his work and was 
prepared to make every sacrifice for which his position called. 
As a statesman he was ready to give to every call that con- 
scientious response which duty required. As a statesman he 
was pecuniarily honest. There is nothing in the life of Mr. 
Yance that I prize more than the fact that with all his ability, 
with all his knowledge, with all his influence, no person can 
say that he ever sold his influence, his ability, or his sup- 


port for money. No person can say that on any occasion he 
ever surrendered the interests of the people, as he understood 
those interests, for hope of gain. 

Sometimes people speak sneeringly of legislators. Some- 
times they speak as if there were no such thing as honesty 
among them. Some people talk as if every man has his 
price, as if all that is necessary is to offer enough money, and 
the influence of any man who is serving in official position 
can be purchased. I do not believe that the worst enemy 
that Mr. Vance ever had would say of him that any amount 
of money, however great, could have purchased his vote, his 
voice or his influence. And that a man with his command- 
ing ability, whose official life began at the very dawn of man- 
hood, and continued through all the conspicuous positions 
within the gift of his countrymen, should successfully resist 
all pecuniary temptation and die poor, is, I think, one of the 
proudest of his achievements. 

Mr. Speaker, there are things in this life more valuable 
than money. The wise man said three thousand years ago, 
" A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and 
loving favor than silver and gold." We struggle, we sacri- 
fice, and we toil in order to leave to our children a fortune; 
but I believe that Senator Yance has left to his widow / and 
to his children a greater, a more valuable heritage than could 
possibly have been left had he given to them all the money 
which one man ever accumulated in this world. When he 
left to them a name untarnished, when he left to them a repu- 
tation such as he earned and bore, he left to them that which 
no wealth can purchase. I am not skilled in the use of 
obituary adjectives, and did not rise to give a review of his 
life, but I beg to place on record my tribute of profound 
respect for a public servant who at the close of his career was 
able to say to the people for whom he toiled, " I have lived 
in your presence for a lifetime ; I have received all my honors 
at your hands; I stand before you without fear that any one 
can charge against me an official wrong." I say, to such a 
man I pay my tribute of respect. 



The patriotic people of the county of Rockingham, in a 
public assemblage at their first Superior Court after the death 
of Chief Justice Ruffin, in which they were joined with 
cordial sympathy by the gentlemen of the bar at that court, 
resolved to manifest their appreciation of his talents, virtues 
and public usefulness, by causing to be pronounced a me- 
morial on his life and character. Such an offering was 
deemed by them a fitting tribute from a people among whom 
his family first settled, upon their arrival in North Carolina, 
and with whom he had been associated as a planter and culti- 
vator of the soil from his early manhood till his decease. The 
Agricultural Society of the State, of which for many years 
he had been a distinguished president, subsequently deter- 
mined on a like offering to his memory at their annual fair. 
The invitation to prepare such a discourse has been by both 
bodies extended to the same individual. The task is under- 
taken with diffidence and a sense of apprehension that amid 
the multiplicity of other engagements its fulfillment may 
fail in doing justice to the subject of this memoir. 

Thomas Ruffin, the eldest child of his parents, was born 
at Newington, the residence of his maternal grandfather, 
Thomas Roane, in the county of King and Queen, in Virginia, 
on the 17th of November, 1787. 

His father, Sterling Ruffin, Esquire, was a planter in tho 
neighboring county of Essex, who subsequently transferred 
his residence to North Carolina, and died in the county of 
Caswell. Ardent in his religious sentiments, and long 
attached to the Methodist Episcopal Church, he very late in 
life entered the ministry, and was for a few years prior to his 
death a preacher in that denomination. 

His mother, Alice Roane, was of a family much distin- 
guished in Virginia by the public service of many of its 



members, and was herself first cousin of Spencer Koane, the 
Chief Justice of that State, in the past generation, whose 
judicial course, connected as it was with questions of diffi- 
culty and importance in constitutional law, gave him high 
professional, as well as political, distinction; but it may well 
be doubted whether, in all that constitutes a great lawyer, 
he had preeminence over the subject of our present sketch, 
his junior kinsman in North Carolina, then but rising into 
fame, and destined to fill the like office in his own State. 

His father, though not affluent, had a respectable fortune, 
and sought for the son the best means of education. His 
early boyhood was passed on the farm in Essex, and in atten- 
dance on the schools of the vicinity. Thence, at a suitable 
age, he was sent to a classical academy in the beautiful and 
healthful village of Warrenton, in North Carolina, then under 
the management of Mr. Marcus George, an Irishman by birth 
and education, a fine classical scholar and most painstaking 
and skillful instructor, especially in elocution, as we must 
believe, since among his pupils who survived to our times we 
found the best readers of their clay, within our acquaintance. 
His excellence in this particular was probably attributable to 
his experience on the theatrical stage, where he had spent a 
portion of his life. He made his first appearance in the State 
at Hillsborough, during the Convention of 1788, which re- 
jected the Federal Constitution, and being in search of em- 
ployment as a teacher, he was engaged by the Warren gentle- 
men then in attendance, and many years subsequently was 
still at the head of a flourishing school, in which our student 
entered. The system and discipline of Mr. George conformed 
to the ancient regime, and placed great faith in the rod; and 
he being a man of much personal prowess and spirit, did not 
scruple to administer it on his pupils, when sloth, delinquency 
or misbehavior required, without regard to age, size or other 
circumstances. Yet he secured . the respect of his patrons 
and the confidence of the public, and inspired the gratitude 
and affection of his pupils in a remarkable degree. 

This turning aside from our subject, to pay a passing tribute 
to his old preceptor, is deemed to be justified not only by the 
long and useful labors of Mr. George, in the instruction of 


youth in the generation in which Mr. Ruffin's lot was cast, 
but because he himself entertained the highest appreciation 
of the profession of an instructor, accustoming himself to 
speak of it as one of the most honorable and beneficent of 
human employments. Throughout his laborious and well- 
spent life he often acknowledged his obligations of gratitude 
for the early training he had received under the tuition of 
this faithful, but somewhat eccentric, son of Erin. And it 
may well be doubted whether Lord Eldon, in the maturity 
of his wisdom and great age, retained a more grateful and 
affectionate recollection of Master Moises of the High School 
of New Castle, than did Chief Justice Ruffin of Master 
George of the Warren ton Male Academy. 

At this institution were assembled the sons of most of the 
citizens of eastern North Carolina, and of the bordering coun- 
ties of Virginia, who aspired to a liberal education. And here 
were formed friendships which he cherished with great satis- 
faction throughout life. Among his companions were the 
late Robert Broadnax, of Rockingham, subsequently a planter 
of large possessions on Dan River, among the most estimable 
gentlemen of his time; and Cadwallader Jones, then of Hali- 
fax, but afterwards of Orange, an officer at different periods 
in the navy and in the army of the United States, a successful 
planter, and a model of the manners and virtues which give 
a charm to social intercourse. Here, too, he found "VVeldon 
N, Edwards, of Warren, subsequently distinguished by much 
public service in Congress and under the government of the 
State, thenceforward his lifelong friend, with whom the 
bonds of amity seemed to be drawn more closely as others 
of his contemporaries dropped from around him. Of these 
four youths of the Warrenton Academy, in the beginning 
of the nineteenth century, Mr. Edwards alone survives. 
Long may he live to enjoy the veneration and respect due to 
a life of probity, honor, and usefulness. 

From the Warrenton Academy young Ruffin was trans- 
ferred to the College of Nassau Hall, at Princeton, New Jer- 
sey. It is believed that his father, who was a deeply pious 
man, was controlled in the selection of this college in prefer- 
ence to that of William and Mary, in Virginia (next to liar- 


vard University the oldest institution of learning in the 
United States), not only by a desire to guard his son's health, 
which had suffered from the malaria of tide-water Virginia, 
but to secure him as well against the temptations incident to 
college life in an institution where, as he supposed, the disci- 
pline was too lax for the sons of affluence who matriculated 
there. He entered the freshman class at Princeton, and 
graduated at the commencement in 1805, the sixteenth in a 
class of forty-two members, "being the first of the second 
division of intermediate honors." The late Governor James 
Iredell, of North Carolina, was in the class succeeding his 
own, and for nearly the whole of his college course his room- 
mate. Thus commenced a friendship between these gentle- 
men in youth which was terminated only by the death of Mr. 
Iredell. Among others of his college associates who became 
distinguished in subsequent life, there were Samuel L. South- 
ard and Theodore Erelinghuysen, of New Jersey, Joseph R. 
Ingersoll, of Philadelphia, the Cuthberts and Habershams, of 
Georgia, Christopher Hughes of Maryland, and Stephenson 
Archer, of Mississippi. 

Returning home with his bachelor degree, Mr. Ruffin soon 
afterwards entered the law office of David Robertson, Esq., 
of Petersburg, as a student of law, and continued there 
through the years 1806 and 1807. Here he was associated 
as a fellow-student with John F. May, afterwards Judge May, 
of Petersburg, and Winfield Scott, afterwards so highly dis- 
tinguished in arms, and the only officer, down to his time, 
except General Washington, who attained the rank of Lieu- 
tenant-General in the army of the United States. General 
Scott, in his autobiography, describes their preceptor, Mr. 
Robertson, as a Scotchman, a very learned scholar and bar- 
rister, who originally came to America as a classical teacher, 
but subsequently gained high distinction as a lawyer, and was 
the author of the report of the debates in the Virginia Con- 
vention w r hich adopted the Federal Constitution, and of the 
report of the trial of Aaron Burr for high treason. In a 
note to the same work, General Scott mentions his chancing 
to meet Judge Ruffin in New York in 1853, while the latter 
was attending as a delegate the Protestant Episcopal Conven- 


tion of the United States, after a separation of forty-seven 
years, and recurs to their association together with Judge 
May, as law students, and to the conversation in which they 
then indulged, with manifest pride and pleasure. He also 
refers to their subsequent intercourse in the City of Washing- 
ton, in 1861, while Judge liuifin was serving as a member of 
the Peace Congress, and expresses the opinion that if the 
sentiments of this good man, always highly conservative (the 
same as Crittenden's), had prevailed, the country would have 
escaped the sad infliction of the war, which was raging at the 
time he wrote. 

Sterling Ruffin, the father, having suffered some reverses 
of fortune, determined to change his home, and removed to 
liockingham county, North Carolina, in 1807. His son soon 
followed, a willing emigrant. It was in North Carolina he 
had received his first training for useful life: here was the 
home of most of his early friends, and here he confidently 
hoped to renew his associations with Broadnax, Jones, Ed- 
wards, Iredell, and other kindred spirits. 

He doubtless brought with him a considerable store of 
professional learning from the office of Mr. Robertson, in 
which he had been more than two years a student, but on his 
arrival in North Carolina he pursued his further studies under 
the direction of Hon. A. D. Murphy, until his admission to 
the bar, in 1808. Early in 1809, he established his home in 
the town of Ilillsborough, and on the 9th of December in 
that year he was united in marriage to Miss Ann Kirkland, 
eldest daughter of the late William Kirkland, of that place, 
a prominent merchant and leading citizen. 

The twenty years next ensuing, during which his residence 
was continually in Hillsborough, comprehends his career at 
the bar and on the bench of the Superior Courts. In 1813, 
1815 and 1816 he served as a member of the Legislature in 
the House of Commons from this town, under the old Con- 
stitution and filled the office of Speaker of the House at the 
last mentioned session, when first elected a judge, upon the 
resignation of Duncan Cameron. He was also a candidate 
on the electoral ticket in favor of William H. Crawford for the 
Presidency of the United States in 1824. But his aspirations, 


tastes, and interests inclined him nut to political honors, but 
to a steady adherence to the profession to which his life was 
devoted. He found at the bar in Orange and the neighbor- 
ing counties several gentlemen, his seniors in years, who were 
no ordinary competitors for forensic fame and patronage, of 
whom it may be sufficient to name Archibald I). Murphy, 
Frederick Nash, William Norwood, Duncan Cameron, Henry 
Seawell, Leonard Henderson, William Ilobards, Nicholas P. 
Smith, of Chatham, and later of Tennessee. His first essays 
in argument are said not to have been very fortunate. His 
manner was diffident and his speech hesitating and embar- 
rassed. But these difficulties being soon overcome, the vigor 
of his understanding, the extent and accuracy of his learning, 
and the perfect mastery of his causes by diligent preparation, 
in a short time gave him position among these veterans of the 
profession, secured him a general and lucrative practice, and 
an easy accession to the bench in seven years from his initia- 
tion at the bar. 

His reputation was greatly advanced and extended by the 
manner in which he acquitted himself in this office. The 
wants, however, of an increasing family and an unfortunate 
involvement by suretyship forbade his continuance in a situa- 
tion of no better income than the salary which was its com- 
pensation. He resigned to the Legislature of 1818, and im- 
mediately returned to the practice. Mr. Ituffin had kept up 
habits of close study of his profession before his promotion 
to the bench, and he eagerly availed himself of the leisure 
afforded by the vacations of the office for the same object. 
He came back to the bar not only with his health renovated, 
which had never been very robust, but with a brightness in 
his learning and an increase of fame which, in the Supreme 
Court, then recently established on its present basis, and in 
the Circuit Court of the United States, as well as on the rid- 
ings in the State courts, brought to him a practice and an 
income which has hardlv ever been equaled bv anv other 

*- */ */ 

practitioner in North ( 'arolina. For forty-three weeks in 
the year he had engagements in court, and despite all con- 
ditions of the weather or other impediments to traveling in 
the then state of the country, rarely failed to fulfill them. He 


held the appointment of Reporter of the decisions of the 
Supreme Court for one or two terms, but relinquished it on 
account of the engrossment of his time by his practice; and 
his labors are embraced in the first volume of Hawks. Mr. 
Archibald Henderson, Mr. Gaston, Mr. Seawell, Mr. Murphy, 
Mr. Moses Mordecai, Mr. Gavin Hogg, and Mr. Joseph Wil- 
son, all men of renown, were, with Mr. Ruffin, the chief advo- 
cates in the Supreme Court at that period, Mr. Nash and Mr. 
Badger being then upon the bench; and according to tradi- 
tion, at no time have the arguments before it been more thor- 
ough and exhaustive. The late Governor Swain being, part 
of this period, a student of the law in the office of Chief Jus- 
tice Taylor, in a public address at the opening of Tucker Hall, 
mentions a prediction in his hearing by Mr. Gaston to one of 
his clients in 1822, that if Mr. Ruffin should live ten years 
longer he would be at the head of the profession in North 
Carolina. By the same authority we are informed that only 
a year or two later Judge Henderson declared that he had 
then attained this position of eminence. 

In the summer of 1825, upon the resignation of Judge 
Badger, Mr. Ruffin again accepted the appointment of Judge 
of the Superior Courts. His recent successes had relieved 
him of embarrassment, and supplied him a competent for- 
tune; his health demanded relaxation and rest; and he con- 
sidered his duties to his family, now quite numerous, required 
more of his presence at home than was consistent with the 
very active life he was leading. He therefore relinquished 
his great emoluments at the bar for the inadequate salary 
then paid to a judge, and virtually closed his career as an 
advocate. By the bar and the public he was welcomed back 
011 the circuits, and for the three following years he admin- 
istered the law with such universal approbation that it was 
generally understood he would be appointed to the bench of 
the Supreme Court. , 

The reputation he had established by this time, however, 
did not merely assign him capabilities as a lawyer, but 
ascribed to him every qualification of a thorough man of 
affairs. It was conceded, at least, that he could teach bank- 
ers banking and merchants the science of accounts. 


In the autumn of 1828 the stockholders of the old State 
Bank of North Carolina, at the head of whom were William 
Polk, Peter Browne, and Duncan Cameron, owing to the 
great embarrassment of the affairs of the institution, involv- 
ing disfavor with the public and threats of judicial proceed- 
ings for a forfeiture of its charter, prevailed on him to take 
the presidency of the bank, with a salary increased to the 
procurement of his acceptance, and with the privilege on 
his part to practise his profession in the city of Raleigh. In 
twelve months, with characteristic energy, mastering the 
affairs of the bank with a true talent, for finance, making- 
available its assets and providing for its liabilities, and inspir- 
ing confidence by the general faith in his abilities and high 
purpose to do right, he effectually redeemed the institution, 
and prepared the way to close out in credit the remaining 
term of its charter. 

At this period, also, another place of high political eminence 
was at his choice, but was promptly declined. A vacancy 
having happened in the Senate of the United States by 
the appointment of Governor Branch to the head of the Navy 
Department, and Hon. Bartlett Yancey, who had been the 
general favorite for the succession, having recently died, Mr. 
Itiiffin was earnestly solicited to accept a candidacy for this 
position, with every assurance of success. But his desire was, 
as he himself expressed it among his friends, after the 
labor and attention he had bestowed upon his profession, to 
go down to posterity as a lawyer. Irrespective, therefore, 
of his domestic interests, and the care and attention due to 
his family, of which no man ever had a truer or warmer con- 
ception, he could not be diverted from his chosen line of life 
by the attractions of even the highest political distinction. 

While assiduously employed in the affairs of the bank, to 
which was devoted the rear 1829, his services were still de- 

t/ 1 

manded by clients in the higher courts, and his reputation 
at the bar suffered no eclipse. Upon the death of Chief 
Justice Taylor, in this year, the executive appointment of a 
successor was conferred on a gentleman of merited eminence 
in the profession, and of a singularly pure and elevated char- 
acter; but the sentiment of the majority of the profession, 


as well as public opinion, had made choice of Mr. Ruffin for 
the permanent office, and he was elected a Jndge of the Su- 
preme Court at the session of the Legislature in the autumn of 
1829. In 1833, upon the demise of Chief Justice Hender- 
son, he was elevated to the Chief Justiceship, in which he won 
that fame which will longest endure because it is incorporated 
in the judicial literature of the country, and is coextensive 
with the study and administration of our system of law. 

Of Mr. Ixuffin's arguments at the bar no memorials have 
been preserved save the imperfect briefs contained in the 
causes that have been reported. His nature was ardent, his 
manner of speech earnest and often vehement in tone and 
gesticulation. Though versed in belles-lettres, and with 
tastes to relish eloquent declamation, it was a field into which 
he did not often, if at all, adventure. His reliance Avas upon 
logic; not upon rhetoric; and even his illustrations were 
drawn from things practical rather than ideal. Analyzing 
and thoroughly comprehending his cause, he held it up plainly 
to the view of others, and with a searching incisive criticism 
exposed and dissipated the weak points in that of his adver- 
sary; and all this in a vigorous, terse and manly English, every 
word of which told. Few advocates ever equaled him in pre- 
senting so much of solid thought in the same number of words, 
or in disentangling complicated facts or elucidating abstruse 
learning so as to make the demonstration complete to the 
minds of his hearers. These capacities he doubtless gained 
by severe culture, a part of which, as I learned from an early 
student in his office, resulted from his daily habit of going 
carefully over the demonstration of a theorem in mathe- 
matics. Thus habituated to abstract and exact reasoning, he 
delighted in the approach to exactness in the reasoning of the 
law, and no student could more truly say of his professional 
investigations: Lcibor ipse est voluptas. The accuracy thus 
attained in his studies gave him great eminence as a pleader 
in causes both at law and in equity; and the office of framing 
the pleadings was usually conceded to him by his colleagues 
in the' causes in which they were associated. It also gave 
him rank among the great counsellors of the time whose 
opinions were not the result of cramming for an occasion, or 


a fortunate authority, but the well considered reflections of 

v * 

gifted minds imbued with law as a science. The full develop- 
ment of his forensic character does not appear to have been 
manifested until after his return to the bar subsequently to 
his first service on the bench. But from this period till his 
second retirement, in 1825, he had hardly a rival in the bar of 
the Supreme Court of the State or the Circuit Court of the 
United States, except Archibald Henderson and Gaston, and 
he had a. command of the practice in all the State courts he 
attended. As a Judge of the Superior Courts he exhibited 
equal aptitude as for the practice at the bar. With an energy 
that pressed the business forward, a quickness rarely equaled 
in perceiving and comprehending facts, patient and industri- 
ous habits of labor, and a spirit of command which suffered 
no time to be lost, he dispatched causes with expedition, but 
with no indecent haste. Whilst he presided it was rare that 
any cause before a jury ever occupied more than a single day, 
and none is remembered that extended beyond two. He dis- 
missed a suit brought to test a wager at the cost of both 
parties, and remarked that it was on account of leniency that 
he did not imprison them. 

In administering the criminal la\v, in which the extent of 
punishment generally depended on the discretion of the judge, 
his sentences were such as to inspire evil-doers with terror, 
but eminently tended to give protection to society and con- 
fidence to honest and law-abiding men. 

His accession to the bench of the Supreme Court was a 
source of general satisfaction to the profession, and to the 
people of the State, by whom his enlightened labors in the 
circuits had been witnessed with admiration and pride. He 
at once took a conspicuous part in the proceedings of this 
high tribunal, and for the twenty-three years that he con- 
tinuously sat there, probably delivered a greater number of 
the opinions than any judge with whom, in all this long 
career, he was associated. These opinions are found through 
more than twenty-five volumes of the Reports, and form the 
bulk of our judicial literature for a full generation. They 
have been cited with approbation in the American courts, 
State and national, by eminent legal authors, and in the 


judicial deliberations of Westminster Hall; and the North 
Carolina lawyer who can invoke one of them as a case in point 
with his own generally considers that he is possessed of an 
impenetrable shield. It has been rare in England that a judge 
or advocate has reached high distinction in the courts both 
of common law and equity. The student of the judicial argu- 
ments of Chief Justice Rtiffin will be at a loss to determine 
in which of these branches of legal science he most excelled. 
To the votary of the common law, fresh from the perusal of 
the black letter of the times of the Tudors and early Stuarts, 
and captivated with its artificial refinements and technical 
distinctions, he would appear to have pursued his professional 
education upon the intimation of Butler, in his reminiscences, 
that ' e he is the best lawyer, and will succeed best in his pro- 
fession, who best understands Coke upon Littleton"; or, ad- 
vancing to the modern ages of greater enlightenment and 
freer intercourse among nations, that he had made a specialty 
of the law of contracts, bills of exchange and commercial law 
generally; whilst his expositions of equity causes will satisfy 
any impartial critic that he was at least equally a proficient 
and master of the principles and practice of the jurisprudence 
of the English Chancery, and would induce the belief that, 
like Sir Samuel Romilly or Sir "William Grant, his practice at 
the bar had been confined to this branch of the profession. 

During his chief-justiceship it cannot fail to be remarked 
that there was a great advance in the accuracy of pleadings 
in equity cases, and in general extension of the knowledge of 
equity practice throughout the circuits. And the precision 
and propriety of entries in every species of procedure were 
brought to a high state of perfection, mainly by his investiga- 
tions and labors, in conjunction with those of that most 
worthy gentleman, and modest but able lawyer, Edmund B. 
Freeman, Esq., late Clerk of the Supreme Court, whose vir- 
tues and public usefulness, connected as he was for so many 
years in close and friendly association with the immediate 
subject of our remarks, now likewise gone down beyond the 
horizon, I am gratified the opportunity serves to commemo- 

Judge Ruftln's conversancy with political ethics, public 


law, and English and American history seems to have assigned 
to him the task of delivering the opinions on constitutional 
questions which have attracted most general attention. That 
delivered by him in the case of Hoke vs. Henderson, in which 
it was held that the Legislature could not, by a sentence of its 
own in the form of an enactment, divest a citizen of property, 
even in a public office, because the proceeding was an exercise 
of judicial power, received the high encomium of Kent and 
other authors on constitutional law; and I happened person- 
ally to witness that it was the main authority relied on by Mr. 
Reverdy Johnson, in the argument for the second time in 
Ex parte Garland, which involved the power of Congress, by 
a test oath, to exclude lawyers from the practice in the Su- 
preme Court of the United States for having participated in 
civil war against the government; and in which, its reasoning 
on the negative side of the question, was sustained by that 
august tribunal. 

The singular felicity and aptitude with which he denuded 
his judgments of all extraneous matter, and expounded the 
principles of the case in hand, usually citing authority only 
to uphold what had been demonstrated without it, is the most 
striking feature of his numerous opinions. His style of writ- 
ing was elevated and worthy of the themes he discussed. His 
language was well selected, and exhibited a critical acquain- 
tance with English philology. A marked characteristic in 
his writings, as it was also in his conversation, was the fre- 
quent, dextrous, and strikingly appropriate use he made of 
the brief words of our language, usually of Saxon derivation. 

In the autumn of 1852, while in the zenith of his reputa- 
tion, and not yet pressed with the weight of years, Chief Jus- 
tice Ruffin resigned his office and retired, as he supposed for- 
ever, from the professional employments he had so long and 
with so much renown pursued. But on the death of his suc- 
cessor and friend, Chief Justice Nash, in December, 1858, 
he w r as called by the almost unanimous vote of the General 
Assembly, then in session, to fill the vacancy, and sat again 
as a Judge of the Supreme Court until the autumn of 1859, 
when failing health rendered his labors irksome, and he took 
his final leave of judicial life. Six years of rest in his rural 


home had induced nothing of rust or desuetude: he wore the 
ermine as naturally and gracefully as if he had never been 
divested of its folds; his judicial arguments at this time evince 
all that vigor of thought and freshness and copiousness of 
learning which had prompted an old admirer to say of him 
that he was a " horn lawyer." It is not improbable that this 
preservation in full panoply was, in some degree, aided by the 
circumstance that in a desire to be useful in any sphere for 
which he was fitted, he had accepted the office of a justice of 
the peace in the county of Alamance, in which he then resided, 
and had held the County Courts with the lay justices during 
this period. Though near ten years later, and when he had 
passed the age of eighty, in a matter of seizure, under the rev- 
enue laws, in which he took some interest for a friend, in the 
Circuit Court of the United States, a branch of practice to 
which he had not been habituated by experience, I had occa- 
sion to observe that he was as ready with his pen in framing 
the pleading's, without books of authority or precedent, as 
any proctor in a court of admiralty. 

At an early period he became the proprietor of an estate 
on Dan River, in Rockingham, on which lie established a 
plantation at once, and gave personal direction to its profitable 
cultivation from that time until near the time of his death. 
Carrying his family to Raleigh for a sojourn of twelve 
months, upon assuming the presidency of a bank, as already 
stated, he removed thence to Haw River, in Alamance, in 
1830, and there, under his own eye, carried on the operations 
of a planter with success until the year 1S<><>, when the results 
of the war deprived him of laborers and he sold the estate and 
removed again to Hillsborough. The law has been said by 
some of its old authors to be a jealous mistress, and to allow 
no rival in the attentions of its votary. ( 'hief Justice Ruffin, 
however, while diligently performing the duties of his great 
office, and keeping up with the labors of his contemporaries, 
Lyndhurst, Brougham, Tenterden, and Denman, in England, 
and the numerous courts exercising like jurisdictions in 
America, found leisure to manage his farm at home as well 
as to give direction to that in Rockingham. And this, not in 
the ineffective manner which has attended like efforts of some 


professional men, but with present profit and improvement of 
the estates. From early life lie appeared to have con- 
ceived a fondness for agriculture, including horticulture and 
the growing of fruit-trees and llowcrs, which his home in the 
country seemed to have been selected to indulge. Here, for 
thirty-five years during the recesses of his courts, he found 
recreation in these pursuits and in the rearing of domestic 
animals; the result of which was the most encouraging suc- 
cess in orchards, grapery, garden, cereals, flocks and herds. 
Combining a knowledge of the general principles of science, 
with fine powers of observation, and the suggestions of the 
most approved agricultural periodicals, he was prepared to 
avail himself in practice of the highest intelligence in the art. 
It was therefore no empty compliment to a great jurist and 
leading citizen when the Agricultural Society of North Caro- 
lina, in 1854, elected him to its presidency after his retire- 
ment from the bench. He was continued in this distin- 
guished position for six years, when declining health de- 
manded his retirement; and at no time have the interests of 
the Society been more prosperous, its public exhibitions more 
spirited; and it may be added that on no occasion did he ever 
manifest more satisfaction than in the reunions of its mem- 

The liberal hospitality that he dispensed throughout life 
was a most conspicuous feature in the period thus devoted 
to practical agriculture. His nature was eminently social, his 


acquaintance in his high position extensive, his dwelling near 
one of the great highways of travel through the State in the 
old modes of conveyance, easy of access, and the exuberance 
of his farm, garden, orchards and domestic comforts were 
never more agreeably dispensed than when ministered to the 
gratification of his friends under his own roof. 

The cordiality and ease with which he did the honors of an 
entertainer in an old-fashioned Southern mansion is among 
the pleasant recollections of not a few between the Potomac 
and the Mississippi. It was here, indeed, surrounded by a 
family worthy of the care and affection he bestowed upon 
them, relaxed from the severe studies and anxieties of official 
life, in unreserved and cheerful intercourse, that, after all, he 
appeared most favorably. 


By his industry, frugality and aptitude for the management 
of property, he accumulated in a long life an estate more 
ample than usually falls to the lot of a member of the pro- 
fession in this State ; and although much reduced by the con- 
sequences of the civil war, it was still competent to the com- 
fort of his large family. 

Judge Ruffin was, until superseded by the changes made 
in 1868, the oldest trustee of the University of the State, 
and always one of the most efficient and active members of 
the board. For more than half a century on terms of inti- 
mate intercourse with its Presidents, Caldwell and Swain, and 
the leading Professors, Mitchell, Phillips and their associates, 
he was their ready counsellor and friend in any emergency, 
whether in making appeals to the Legislature in behalf of the 
institution for support and assistance in its seasons of adver- 
sity, or in enforcing discipline and maintaining order, advanc- 
ing the standard of education or cheering the labors both of 
the faculty and students. His criterion of a collegiate edu- 
cation was high, and he illustrated by his own example the 
rewards of diligent and faithful study. He retained a better 
acquaintance with the dead languages than any of his com- 
peers we have named except Gaston, Murphy, and Taylor. 
In ethics, history, and the standard British classics his knowl- 
edge was profound. In science and in natural history, more 
especially in chemistry, and those departments pertaining 
to agriculture, horticulture, pomology and the like, his attain- 
ments were very considerable, as they were also in works of 
belles-lettres, poetry, taste and fiction, at least down to the 
end of the novels of Scott and Cooper. He worthily received 
the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University 
of North Carolina in 1834, and the like honor is believed to 
have been subsequently conferred by his alma mater at 

His style and manner in conversation, in which he took 
great delight and bore a distinguished part in all companies, 
abounded in pleasantry, but exhibited the same wide range 
of thought and information as his public performances, and 
was full of entertainment and instruction to the young. His 
temperament was mercurial, his actions quick and energetic, 


and his whole hearing in the farthest possible degree removed 
from sloth, inertness, and despondency. In political senti- 
ment he accorded with the school of Jefferson, and for more 
than forty years was a constant reader of the Richmond In- 
quirer, the editor of which, Mr. Ritchie, was his relative, 
though no one entertained a more exalted reverence for the 
character, abilities, and patriotism of Marshall, with whom 
he cherished a familiar acquaintance while in practice before 
him at the bar, and after his own elevation to the bench. 
Later in life he formed a like kind and admiring acquaintance 
with Chancellor Kent. 

In the winter of 1861 the Legislature of North Carolina, 
having acceded to the proposition of Virginia, on the ap- 
proach of the late rupture between the States of the Union, 
to assemble a body of delegates in the City of Washington 
to consider and recommend terms of reconciliation, Judge 
Ruffin was appointed one of the members in the " Peace Con- 
ference," and is understood to have taken a conspicuous part 
in its deliberations and debates. We have the testimony of 
General Scott, in his autobiography, already quoted, that his 
counsels in that assembly were altogether pacific. President 
Buchanan, in his work in defense of his action in that im- 
portant crisis, makes assertion of the same fact. After the 
failure of the efforts at adjustment, and the war, in his 
opinion, had become a necessity, Judge Ruffin accepted a 
seat in the State Convention of 1861, and threw into its sup- 
port all the zeal and energy of his earnest and ardent temper; 
one of his sons, a grandson, and other near connections taking 
part in the dangers and privations of its camps and battle- 
fields. When defeat came he yielded an honest submission 
and acquiescence, and renewed in perfect good faith his alle- 
giance to the government, of the United States. Too far 
advanced in years to be longer active in affairs, his chief con- 
cern in regard to the public interests thenceforAvard was for 
the conservation of the public weal, and that the violent con- 
vulsion, of which we had felt the shock, and the change, 
might be permitted to pass without any serious disturbance 
of the great and essential principles of freedom and right 
which it had been the favorite studv of his life to understand 


and illustrate. 


With the close of the war, his farm about his mansion hav- 
ing experienced the desolation of an army encampment, and 
its system of labor being abolished, he felt unequal to the 
enterprise of its resuscitation and culture, and therefore dis- 
posed of his estate and again took up his abode in Hillsbor- 
ough. Here, in occasional occupation as a referee of legal 
controversies, in directing the assiduous culture of his garden 
and grounds, in desultory reading, in which he now and then 
recurred to his old favorites among the novels of Scott, in 
the duties of hospitality and the converse of friends, in the 
bosom of his family, he passed the evening of his days. In 
the sense of imbecility or decrepitude he never grew old, but 
was blessed with the enjoyment of a remarkable intellectual 
vigor and fine flow of spirits almost till his dissolution. And, 
in anticipation of death, in his last illness he laid an injunc- 
tion on his physician to administer to him no anodyne which 
should deprive him of consciousness, as he did not wish to 
die in a state of insensibility. 

On the 15th of January, 1870, after an illness of but four 
days, though he had been an invalid from an affection of the 
lungs for a year or more, he breathed his last, in the eighty- 
third year of his age. His end was resigned and peaceful, 
and in the consolation of an enlightened and humble Christian 
faith. For more than forty years a communicant of the 
Protestant Episcopal Church, he was one of its most active 
members in the State, and more than once represented the 
Diocese in the Triennial Conventions of the Union. 

The venerable companion of his life, a bride when not yet 
fifteen, a wife for more than sixty years, yet survives to re- 
ceive the gratitude and affection of a numerous posterity and 
the reverence and esteem of troops of friends. 

This imperfect offering is a memoir, not a panegyric. Tt 
contains not history, but parUcnlnx liixtorae scraps of his- 
tory, which it is hoped may not be without their use to the 
future student of our annals, for the character we contemplate 
is destined to be historical. His life was passed in public 
view, in the most important public functions, in contact with 
the most gifted and cultivated men of the State for half a 
century; it ran through two generations of lawyers. Tt was 


given to a profession in which were engaged many of tin- 
first minds of other States, and I can call to recollection no 
judge of any State of the Union who in that period has left 
licliind him nobler or more numerous memorials of erudition, 
diligence, and ability in the departments of the law he was 
called to administer. The study of his performances will at 
least serve to correct the error of opinions prevailing with 
many at the North, that the intellectual activity of the South 
delights itself only in politics. 

It has been remarked by one of the the British essayists, 
as " a saying of dunces in all ages, that men of genius are 
unfit for business." It is perhaps a kindred fallacy, to which 
pedantry and sloth have given as much countenance on the 
one hand as blissful ignorance upon the other, that high cul- 
ture and erudition, as in the case of the learned professions, 
are incompatible with success in practical affairs in other de- 
partments. We have before us the life of one who demon- 
strated in his own person that it is possible for a great and 
profound lawyer to take a leading part and become a shining 
light in practically promoting the first and greatest of the 
industrial arts, and although there be no natural connection 
between these occupations, that the same well directed indus- 
try, patience, and energy which had achieved success in the 
one, was equal to a like triumph in the other; whilst in high 
probity, in stainless morals, in social intercourse, in the ameni- 
ties of life, and the domestic affections and duties, his 
example will be cherished in the recollection of his friends, 
and mav well be commended to the imitation of our vouth. 



This opinion of Judge Ruffin, taken at random to illus- 
trate his style, is not above his average. 

His great opinions are too long and technical to be of in- 
terest to the general reader. He thoroughly understood " the 
language of the law," and used it with the utmost precision. 

His discussion of the question at issue throws a side-light 
on times fifty years agone, and will awaken memories in the 
old and inquiry in the young. 

Badger and Iredell applied to the Chief Justice for a writ 
of habeas corpus in behalf of William Bradley, who had been 
imprisoned for assault and battery. 


Ruffin, C. J. At the last term of Anson Superior Court, 
William Bradley was convicted of an assault and battery, and 
was sentenced to pay a fine of one dollar, and '" to be im- 
prisoned in the public jail of Anson county for twelve months, 
and thereafter until the said fine and costs should be paid." 
He was committed to the custody of the sheriff of the county, 
and has been kept a close prisoner ever since, but has recently 
tendered to the sheriff a bond with sureties to keep within 
the rules of the prison (which have been laid off by the 
County Court, and contain six acres), and demanded of the 
sheriff to be let out of prison. This was refused by the sheriff, 
upon the ground that he was required by the sentence to keep 
this person within the public jail. 

Upon an affidavit and petition of Bradley, stating those 
facts, he has applied for a habeas corpus, that he might bo 
brought up and an order made for his enlargement, according 
to his application to the sheriff. His counsel, however, does 


not desire that he should be put to the expense and trouble 
of the writ, unless it should be thought that he is entitled to 
the liberty of the rules bounds. As I had an opportunity of 
consulting my brethren on the subject, I have availed myself 
of it, and I now give our unanimous opinion, that the sheriff 
is bound to keep the applicant a close prisoner. The appli- 
cation is founded on the Act of 1741, Rev. St., c. 90, s. 11. 
It enacts, that, " For the preservation of the health of such 
persons as shall be committed to the county prisons, the court 
shall have power to mark out such a parcel of land, as they 
shall think fit, not exceeding six acres, adjoining the prison, 
for the rules thereof; and every prisoner not committed for 
treason or felony shall have liberty to walk therein, out of 
prison, for the preservation of his or her health." 

If there were no other objection to this application but its 
novelty, that would be sufficient. It is the first that has been 
made, as far as we have heard, since the act passed, which 
is now more than one hundred years. If this were an 
absolute right of all persons committed under sentence for 
misdemeanors, there can be no doubt that it would have been 
long before claimed and constantly exercised. But we think 
the construction of the act is plainly against it. It seems to 
have been made in reference to a known usage and regulation 
respecting prisons in the mother country. There, by " rules " 
of the several courts, debtors and prisoners for misdemeanors 
have the liberty of walking in the prison yards, or within 
such other limits as the courts prescribe for their respective 
prisoners, at such hours and on such days as " the rules " 
may designate. Those " grounds " came in time to be called 
the " rules .of the prison " because they were laid off and the 
prisoners had liberty of exercise therein by rule of court for 
that prison. In the same manner and for the same purpose 
the grounds are to be laid out adjoining our prisons. The 
courts " shall have the power," that is to say, they may lay off 
ground, little or much, but not to exceed six acres, adjoining 
the prison, for the rules thereof. These last words, " for the 
rules thereof," show, that with each court it was left to make 
such rules respecting the prisoners committed by it as to the 
extent, periods and durations of enlargement out of close 



prison for exercise and health, as the situation of the prison, 
the season of the year, the danger of escape or the character 
of the prisoners, or the enormity or mildness of their 
offenses might suggest to the court, restraining them, indeed, 
from allowing more than six acres in space to any prisoner, 
and from extending the liberty to traitors and felons, or per- 
sons committed as such. Hence, also, the expression that the 
prisoner may have liberty " to walk therein for the preserva- 
tion of his health," which shows that the courts had the power 
to allow the prisoners merely the " liberty of walking," at 
particular hours, and requiiv them still to have their abode 
in the prison. Such, at first, was no doubt, the practice. But 
in laying out the bounds the rules of the court in modern 
days practically exempt persons committed in execution for 
debt from any imprisonment within the jail, by allowing 
them to walk, not for particular hours, but at all times of the 
day and night within the rules. As they are not required 
to eat or sleep within the prison, they are, in effect, allowed 
to live out of the walls, provided they do not go out of the 

But with regard to persons committed under sentence for 
crimes, no rules have ever been passed. At least, we have 
known of none; and the applicant does not state that there is 
any such rule for Anson Superior Court. We do not say 
that it might not be proper, in some cases, to grant to minor 
offenders the liberty of exercise and fresh air at reasonable 
times and for a moderate period. But that is, necessarily, as 
each court may order in regard to its own prisoners; for as 
the imprisonment itself and its duration are within the discre- 
tion of the court, so must the degree of its, at least, 
as to the power of mitigating it within the extent allowed by 
the statute. The reason why no regiila generalis has been 
adopted by the court, doubtless has been, that our courts are 
not in the habit of sentencing convicts to imprisonment, unless 
in those cases in which the courts think that, for the purposes 
of correction and example, there should be actual imprison- 
ment during the whole period. But if there be any general 
rule upon the subject in any court it would be under the con- 
trol of that court, whether each prisoner should or should 


not be allowed the indulgence, and the sentence on this person 
is, " that he shaH be imprisoned in the public jail of Anson 
for twelve months." Of course, this prisoner cannot demand 
an enlargement out of prison, as a matter of right. 

As I should lie under the necessity of remanding the pris- 
oner, if brought up on habeas corpus, I dec-line issuing the 
writ at all, according to the suggestion of his counsel. 




Thomas Bragg was the son of Thomas and Margaret Cross- 
land Bragg, and was born in the town of Warrenton, in War- 
ren county, on the 9th day of November, 1810. His father 
was a carpenter and contractor, a. man of strong will, good 
judgment, and hard common sense, who devoted the fruits 
of his labor to the education of a large family of children. 
John, an older brother of Thomas, was a distinguished judge 
of Alabama, and a member of Congress from the Mobile Dis- 
trict, in 1852, but declined a renomination. General Braxton 
Bragg, whose military reputation is familiar to the country, 
was a younger brother. Alexander J. was an architect of 
high standing in Alabama. Dunbar was a leading merchant 
in Texas; and William, the youngest brother, died near Chat- 
tanooga, July 25, 1863, from wounds received in battle. 
Mrs. Mary L. Cuthbert, widow of the late James E. Cuthbert, 
a sister, and the last of the children, died recently in Peters- 
burg, Va. 

Thomas Bragg received his preliminary schooling at the 
Academy in Warrenton and his education was completed at 
Captain Partridge's Military School, in Middletown, Connec- 
ticut, where he remained about two and a half years. Soon 
after returning from Middletown he commenced the study of 
law under the late Judge Hall, of Warrenton, one of the 
judges of the Supreme Court, and, on obtaining his license 
to practice in the courts of the State, he started out, with 
a horse and stick gig and fifty dollars, for Jackson, the county- 
seat of Northampton county, 1ST. C., which place he made his 
home in the spring of 1833. This was all the assistance he 
had, but his paying practice was immediate, and he never 
needed aid from any other quarter. 

Shortly after settling in Jackson, Benjamin B. Blume, who 
was County Attorney, resigned the office and removed to 




Petersburg, Va., selling his library to the subject of our 
sketch, who was elected County Attorney, beating his oppo- 
nent, Colonel Samuel B. Spruill, the office then being worth 
about five hundred dollars. He was a strong and vigorous 
prosecuting officer, discharging the duties in strict conformity 
to his oath, and showing neither favor to a friend nor resent- 
ment to an enemy. His execution of the office was so rigid 
that it affected his popularity; evidence of which was visible, 
in some quarters, even up to the time he assumed the office of 
Governor. Upon one occasion, after he had spoken in the 
prosecution of a citizen of considerable prominence, Mr. B. F. 
Moore, who was counsel for the defendant, made strictures 
upon his course, and charged that his zeal was the result more 
of feeling and spite than of his conceived duties under his 
oath. He was seen to bow gracefully, but determinedly, to 
Mr. Moore, as he proceeded with his speech. Immediately 
after the adjournment of court, a note was borne from him to 
Mr. Moore by Colonel Spier Whitaker. It was with some 
difficulty that the matter was settled, but friends interposed, 
and it was satisfactorily adjusted to both parties; and these 
men were not formal in their subsequent intercourse, but, on 
the contrary, their relations w T ere always cordial and friendly. 
Mr. Moore's strong and feeling speech in the Supreme Court- 
room, the day after Governor Bragg's funeral, clearly shows 

It was not long after he had been at the bar when an impor- 
tant case was begun in Hertford county, Beale vs. Askew. It 
was a suit for damages for libel. A. J. Askew was charged 
with sending to the Norfolk (Va.) Herald, then edited by 
Thomas G. Broughton, Esq., a notice of Beale's marriage to 
a woman in AVinton of infamous character. The case was 
moved to Chowan and tried in Edenton. Bragg and Wil- 
liam W. Cherry, then very young men, appeared for 
Askew, and Judge Augustus Moore and Mr. Kinney, at that 
time the leading Eastern lawyers, were the opposing counsel- 
Governor Bragg alluded in his speech to his youth and to his 
being a stranger as working to his disadvantage before the 
jury. Mr. Kinney, in his kindest manner, complimented in 
his speech these young men for their able conduct and man- 


agement of their case, and predicted their future usefulness 
and distinction. Mr. Cherry died when quite a young man. 
He possessed a powerful intellect, and was unquestionably, 
the most brilliant speaker the East ever had. 

On the 4th day of October, 1837, Bragg was united in mar- 
riage to Miss Isabella M. Cuthbert, of Petersburg, Ya. He 
first met her in Jackson while on a visit to her sister, Mrs. 
Starke, whose husband was at that time engaged in business 
in Jackson. Their associated lives were long and happy, and 
marked by the most devoted attention on his part, and 
cemented by a mutual aifection and tenderness. She only 
survived him a few years. 

Bragg was a close and hard student, Except when called 
away on business, he was rarely out of his office; and he left 
his house at night only when urgent engagements compelled 
it, which was infrequent. So closely did he confine himself 
to study and to the full preparation of his cases, and so fully 
was his time occupied, that he seemed estranged from the 
community. These seclusive habits, together with strongly 
drawn party lines, destroyed to a degree that social interchange 
which a more general intercourse would naturally have engen- 
dered. He was not what might be considered a popular man 
of the town, but his high moral worth and his honorable 
and commendable course of life accorded him the highest 
consideration and respect. 

His daily course was to smoke his pipe and read his news- 
papers for about half an hour after breakfast, then repair to 
his office, which was near to his house and on his lot, read law, 
and prepare his cases, smoking a good deal of the time, until 
dinner. After dinner he would devote another half-hour to 
newspaper-reading and his pipe, and then go to his office, 
resuming his law studies and duties until late in the evening, 
when he would either take a ride or a walk with his wife. 
After supper he would take his smoke and read newspapers, 
magazines or other literary works until about ten o'clock, his 
usual bedtime. He rarely read law at night, except 
sometimes shortly before attending the Supreme Court, when 
it might be necessary for him to do so to prepare cases for 
argument there. Such was his regular course of life at Jack- 


son, and he was as regular in it as clockwork. Tie was not an 
early riser, usually rising just before breakfast, which was 
about nine o'clock in winter and about seven in summer. He 
never slept in the afternoons, and during the warm summer 
evenings he would occasionally lie down on a lounge, or 
sofa, which he kept in his office, and read his law books, 
but he would never take an evening nap. During his two 
terms as Governor he would, when he had taken his after- 
dinner smoke, go direct to the executive office, and remain 
there until late in the evening, and if alone, it was rare for 
one to enter and find him not engaged in either reading or 
writing. Tie was an inveterate smoker, and followed the habit 
so persistently that he could not relinquish it, and he carried 
his pipe to his courts as regularly as he did his law books. 
His constitution was, no doubt, though not perceptibly, 
affected by it, and the late gifted Dr. Charles E. Johnson, his 
family physician, was fully impressed that it shortened his 
life and precipitated the disease of which he died. 

Bragg practiced law, regularly, in the Courts of North- 
ampton, Halifax, Hertford, and Gates counties up to the 
time he became Governor. AY hen employed in special cases, 
he would attend the courts of Chowan and Washington coun- 
ties. He had a large and controlling practice, appearing in 
nearly every important case, yet but twice did his practice 
amount to four thousand dollars a year, and it was brought 
to that figure by these special courts, the highest fee being- 
three hundred dollars, which was the largest single fee he 
ever received before the war. He was a diligent and faithful 
worker, and a moderate charger. One of his greatest efforts 
at the bar, before the war, probably, was made in the case of 
the State vs. Garrett. Garrett was tried for murder in North- 
ampton county, before Judge Bailey, about 1853. He was 
defended by Bragg and Mr. B. F. Moore, and the case occu- 
pied two days in taking the testimony. Both of these gen- 
tlemen made strong speeches, but Bragg's speech was par- 
ticularly strong. He was deeply interested in the case and 
bestowed much labor upon it. He believed his client not 
guilty. The State w r as represented by M. \V. Ransom, it 
being his first appearance as Attorney-General at jSTorthamp- 


ton court. He was a young man, and, having such able law- 
yers to confront, much sympathy was felt by the audience 
in the court room for him. He, however, did not need it. 
He saw the necessity for the full development of all the tact, 
brain power, and legal knowledge at his command. During 
the whole trial he took not a note, and he concluded the argu- 
ment alike to the astonishment and admiration of the court, 
jury, and spectators, the very culmination, beyond doubt, 
of the greatest legal effort of his life. Garrett was convicted 
of murder, but before the day appointed for his execution he 
broke jail and was never afterwards captured or heard from. 

It is by some supposed, and has been by some remarked, 
that Bragg developed as a lawyer after the war, and that up 
to that time he was merely a fair lawyer, with a good local 
reputation. This is a very great mistake. Though he may 
not have achieved an extended State reputation, yet he was 
recognized by the bar of the State as a strong lawyer, and he 
was accepted before the war by the people of the East as one 
of the leading, if not the leading, lawyer of that section. 

In 1842 he was elected to the Legislature House of Com- 
mons defeating Thomas J. Gatling, a brother of the inventor 
of the Gatling gun. In 1844 he was defeated for the Legis- 
lature by Judge David A. Barnes, who had just before this 
come to the Northampton bar and had settled in Jackson. 
After this he sought no office, but was an active worker in the 
county political campaigns. In 1844 he was Presidential 
Elector on the Polk and Dallas ticket for the First District, his 
opponent being William W. Cherry, Esq., of Bertie county. 
In 1848 he was again elector for the First District on the Cass 
and Butler ticket, his opponent being the Hon. Kenneth 
Rayner, of Hertford county, one of the strongest political 
speakers of his day, and a man much to be dreaded in debate. 
At this time Bragg was not widely known in politics, and it 
was considered by the Whigs that Mr. Rayner would have a 
" walk-over." Their first meeting was at Rich Square, in 
Northampton, twelve miles from Jackson. Mr. Rayner's 
friends in Jackson (and the town was about all Whig) said 
they were " going out to see Rayner eat Bragg up," but the 
" eating up " was not done at that time, and they came back 


not so exhilarated as they went. Mr. Rayner had met his 
match, and Bragg had fully satisfied his Democratic hearers 
on that occasion. This campaign was exciting and ably 
conducted; and after it was ended Mr. Rayner was frequently 
heard to say that Thomas Bragg was the ablest debater and 
the strongest opponent he had ever met on the stump. 

In 1852 he was again Elector for the Ninth District on the 
Pierce and King Presidential ticket, his opponent being Hon. 
David A. Barnes, of Northampton county. Judge Barnes 
was a ready and effective speaker. They had often crossed 
political swords. This campaign was marked by courtesy and 

In 1854 the AVhig party nominated for Governor General 
Alfred Dockery, of Richmond county, and at that time Gov- 
ernor Bragg 5 s name was prominently mentioned as the Demo- 
cratic candidate. General Dockery opened his campaign at 
Gatesville, in Gates county. Bragg was there attending 
court, and he was called on to reply, which he did very 
successfully. It is said that he made a speech that much 
gratified and pleased his party friends. The week following 
the General spoke at Edenton, during court, and Bragg again 
replied with equal effect. Soon thereafter the Democratic 
convention assembled in Raleigh, and Bragg was unanimously 
nominated for Governor. He accepted this nomination with 
reluctance, and for a little while considered it. He had a 
good practice, amounting to about thirty-five hundred dollars 
a year. His home was comfortable and attractive, and his 
manner of life was quiet and contented. It was natural that 
a man thus situated and surrounded, and not beset by the 
disquietude of political strife and commotion should hesitate 
before disrupting such congenial associations. Upon reflec- 
tion, however, he accepted, and when his courts were ended, 
joined General Dockery, and entered upon one of the most 
remarkable campaigns ever had in the State. General 
Dockery had been canvassing without any regular opponent, 
but the training incident to his having been pitted against 
some of the best Democratic talent in the State, as he went 
along, had developed him into a dangerous antagonist even 
for Bragg. The campaign waxed hotter and hotter, up to 


the day of the election, and, in all probability, had the elec- 
tion been a month later, Dockery would have been victorious. 

An incident of the campaign may afford passing amuse- 
ment. Dockery, in one of his speeches, had characterized his 
opponent as the aristocratic candidate, and said that he drove a 
fine horse, rode in a high sulky, and wore kid gloves. Bragg, 
in his rejoinder, stated that he was not at all an aristocrat, but 
only a bard-toiling lawyer, and the son of a plain carpenter, 
who had exhausted his means in educating his children- 
" But, fellow-citizens," said he, " General Dockery himself is 
in fact the aristocratic candidate, for lie lives in the only brick 
house in the whole county of Richmond." At this juncture 
the General rose right up behind him, and, raising up his 
hands before the crowd, exclaiming in a loud voice: " Yes, 
and these old yaller hands made all the bricks that went into 
it, and toted them up thar, too." The effect was crushing, 
the crowd yelled, and Bragg was afterwards heard to say he 
wished he had left the old brick house alone. He defeated 
Dockery by a majority of two thousand and eighty-five votes, 
and was inaugurated Governor of Xorth Carolina on the first 
day of January, 1855. 

In 1850 he was again nominated for the second term, his 
opponent this time being Hon. John A. Gilmer, of Guilford 
county. Mr. Gilmer had a high reputation both as lawyer and 
politician. He was looked upon as the strongest man of his 
party, but, Governor Bragg made it at once manifest that he 
was his equal in this admirably conducted campaign. Being 
desirous at their first joint discussion to have their positions 
clearly and correctly put before the people of the State, Gov- 
ernor Ui'iigg carefully prepared a full account of their first 
meeting, which took place at Murphy, in Cherokee county, 
and sent it to a friend to be published in the Raleigh 
Standard. It was known only to his friend and the editor, 
and so impartially was it done that no one suspected its au- 

In this campaign with Mr. Gilmer, Governor Bragg, though 
he confined himself to the record, was quite severe on the 
course of Mr. Rayner, who had espoused the u Know-Xoth- 
ing" cause. The published accounts of these references so 


irritated Mr. Ixayner that for a long time bitterness existed, 
and their intercourse became entirely estranged. During {In- 
state Fair of 1858, Mr. Uayner met an intimate friend of the 
Governor at the corner of Fayetteville street, where stood the 
old Xorth Carolina Book Store, and said to him: U I have a 
high regard for Bragg; our estrangement is not well founded, 
and I desire to renew our former relations." This was told 
the Governor a few moments afterwards in the executive 
office, who simply bowed his head, making no reply. That 
day, seeing Mr. IJayner oji the fair ground-, he went straight 
to him and offered his hand. These men were good friends 

Governor Bragg defeated Mr. Gilmer by a majority of 
twelve thousand six hundred and twenty-eight votes, and was 
the second time inaugurated Governor of North Carolina on 
the first dav of Januarv, 1857. 

t/ t/ 7 

In his judicial appointments he exercised sound judgment. 
He was impressed with the belief that young men of promise 
and of good and studious habits would make the best judges, 
as they would subject themselves to greater application. 
Under this view he appointed Jesse G. Shepherd, of Cum- 
berland, and Samuel J. Person, of Xew Hanover, Judges of 
the Superior Courts, and they adorned the bench and were 
among our most efficient judges. In this connection, in 1855, 
he conferred the appointment of Attorney-General upon Hon. 
Joseph B. Batchelor, then a young man, and now one of the 
leading lawyers of the State. 

In the fall of 1856, and about the time of the State Fair, 
the Governors of the Southern States were called to meet in 
Raleigh to consider such action as might become necessary 
in the event of Fremont's election to the Presidency of the 
United States in November following. Governor Wise, of 
Virginia, Governor Adams, of South Carolina, and Governor 
Bragg, of North Carolina, were the only Governors present. 
An informal meeting was held in the parlors at the executive 
mansion. Among others present were General L. O'B. 
Branch, Governor Hoklen, Wesley Jones, A. M. Lewis, M. 
A. Bledsoe, Joseph A. Engelhard, and Pulaski Cowper. The 
Register, then edited by Major Seaton Gales, a vigor- 


ous and ready writer, charged that this meeting of Governors 
was a step to break up the Union, and was quite severe in its 
criticisms. Governor Wise was warm and determined in his 
views, and favored immediate resistance, by fighting in the 
Union, in the event of Fremont's election, and that his elec- 
tion should be accepted as the overt act. Governor Bragg's 
position was quite conservative, his views being calmly stated. 
His sound reason, prudence, and wise counsel produced a deep 
impression, and was the subject of much favorable comment 
the next day. Owing to the small number of Governors 
present, nothing definite was outlined, but this may be char- 
acterized as the first secession meeting ever held in the South. 

In the Legislature of 1858 Governor Bragg was elected 
United States Senator. He took a high stand in the Senate, 
and made a noted speech on the bill providing for the Florida 
Claims. He also took an active part in the discussion of other 
important measures of that time. 

When the war had commenced, and the State had seceded, 
he resigned his seat in the Senate and returned to Raleigh. 
Upon the death of Governor Ellis, which occurred in June, 
1861, Hon. Henry T. Clark, of Edgecombe county, by virtue 
of his office as Speaker of the Senate, became Governor. Gov- 
ernor Clark, under the law giving him power to appoint three 
persons to act as his military council, appointed Governor 
Bragg, Colonel Spier Whitaker, and General D. M. Barringer 
to compose this board. Governor Bragg held this position 
for only a short time, when he resigned. 

Though not openly opposed to the war, and sensible of the 
just grounds that the South had to resist the unconstitutional 
encroachments of the North, yet he did not believe the South 
could establish her independence. He thought the prepon- 
derance of the North's population, together with wealth and 
resources, easy access to aid from the outside world, advan- 
tage of retaining the government and its possession of the 
entire navy, were too great odds against us. He saw that the 
spirit of our people was too high, their determination of 
resistance too united to take kindly any suggestions of doubt 
or difficulty. He therefore kept his opinions within his own 
breast. He said to a friend on his front porch, in July, 1861 : 


" Our people are excited, and do not consider, I fear, the 
strength of the enemy; they look upon it as an easy job, and 
they believe the war will soon be over; but, in iny opinion, it 
will be of long duration, and hotly contested on both sides. 
AY lien our ports are blockaded and the gunboats come up our 
rivers, as will be the case, and our people encounter the 
hardships that will follow, I fear their spirits will weaken and 
dissension will come. I do not think we will succeed; but I 
will say this only to you." Continuing, he said: "I shall 
do all in my power to secure our success. I will stand by 
the old State, and if the worst shall ultimately come, as I 
very much fear, I will go down with her, and when all is over 
I will do what I can to save what is left of her." 

After the removal of the Confederate Government to Rich- 
mond, Va., Mr. Davis, in 1863, tendered to him the position 
of Attorney-General of the Confederate States, which he 
accepted. He held this high office but a few months, when 
he resigned. Some speculation obtained as to the cause of 
his early retirement. Suffice it to say, that his reasons for 
doing so were cogent and well-founded, as all of his conclu- 
sions were. They were of a private natiire, and need not be 
related in this sketch. 

Upon his acceptance of the place of Attorney-General he 
rented out his residence in Raleigh and removed his family 
to Petersburg, Va. In the spring of 1864 he returned with 
his family to Raleigh, where he was residing when the war 

The conclusion of the war found him, like a large number 
of the people of the South, wasted in substance, without means 
or prospects, and bereft of all save a shelter from the winds 
and the cold. He was reluctant to return to the practice of 
the law, and had determined not to again resume it. He had 
been out of the practice from 1855 to 1865, and had entirely 
neglected its study during that time. He said he was rusty, 
and had about forgotten all the law he ever knew, and noth- 
ing but a dependent family could induce him to take it up 
again. He did resume it, and gave to it his former labor 
and endurance, and the eminence and success he attained is 
well known to the bar and people of the State. 


Beyond doubt the greatest forensic effort of Governor 
Bragg ? s life was his speech in the Johnston will case tried 
before Judge A. S. Merrimon, at Edenton, in February, 1867- 
Probably so large and able an array of counsel was never be- 
fore engaged in any suit in North Carolina. The late Mr. 
James C. Johnston, the wealthiest man in the State, had de- 
vised his estate to the late Mr. Edward Wood and his (Mr. 
Johnston's) three overseers, neither of whom were related to 
him. The next of kin sought to break the will, alleging 
mental disqualification. The case occupied twenty-three days 
in the trial, and the best legal talent in the State was engaged 
in it. The attorneys representing the will were B. F. Moore, 
W. X. H. Smith, 11. R. Heath, H. A. Gilliani, P. H. Win- 
ston, Edward Conigland, John Pool, and T. II. Gilliam; those 
representing the contestants were Bragg, Graham, Vance, 
Augustus Moore, William Eaton, James W. Hinton, of Nor- 
folk, Ya., and William F. Martin. Governor Bragg was the 
leader on his side, and Mr. Moore was the leader on the oppo- 
site side. Dr. Hammond, of New York, the distinguished 
specialist, was introduced as a witness, and presented as an 
expert to show the want of mental capacity of the testator. 
His examination, by the counsel of both sides, was most 
searching, and it is said that his cross-examination by Mr. 
B. F. Moore was as fine, if not the finest, professional work 
of the kind ever done in the State. Judge Merrimon pre- 
sided with great ability, patience and impartiality, and well 
sustained the high reputation he had for being one of our 
ablest Superior Court. Judges; Governor Bragg spoke seven 
hours, making the greatest speech of his life before a jury. 
Chief Justice Merrimon, referring to this speech, said: 
'" Upon an issue of fact it was the strongest speech I ever 
heard." Judge Gilliam said: " Governor Bragg was at his 
greatest (he was a very great man), and by his ability and his 
preeminent tact in the management of his side of the case 
for a long time put in peril the integrity of a will which 
should never have been questioned." The will was estab- 
lished. An appeal was taken to the Supreme Court, but the 
decision of the court below was affirmed. 

The liabeas corpus cases in 1870 are well remembered. 


The history of those times and tin- incidents arising have not 
been forgotten l>y the people of the State. Thar the great 
writ of ]i<il>t'itx corpus, issuing from a properly constituted 
authority, should have been entirely disregarded, was a blow 
at the rights of the individual and a significant stride toward- 
executive usurpation and the overthrow of the rule of law. 
That there should be no presumption of innocence until the 
contrary was shown, and that the surest and quickest avenue 
of establishing innocence of crime should have been obstructed 
by a usurped military despotism, betokened that the liberty of 
the citizen was fast vanishing, and he was soon to become 
helpless indeed. Governor Bragg was among the foremost in 
vindicating the law and in maintaining and preserving its 
supremacy. He made a strong appeal for the defense of 
right and justice, and protested, in burning eloquence, against 
the least infringement of the citizen's security, so watchfully 
guarded by the Constitution. His memorable words are 
engraven in the hearts of the people. 

While Governor Bragg was making his forcible appeal for 
constitutional law and liberty, the late venerable Judge Battle 
was listening with marked interest and attention. As the 
speaker extolled the past lustre of Xorth Carolina for the 
maintenance of law and liberty, and contrasted her former 
power and renown with the impending destruction of her 
people's highest privilege and greatest boon their mighty 
writ of right and safety the brightest jewel that ever decked 
the vesture of the English law heeded for centuries, and 
ever granted when fitly craved this eminent and pure judge, 
thoughtful of his State's honor, could not restrain his emo- 
tion, and tears trickled down his whitened cheeks. When 
the speech was concluded Judge Battle said that it was the 
most eloquent and powerful argument he had ever heard in 
that court room. This was a compliment indeed; because, 
with honorable distinction, for many years, he had sat upon 
the bench of that high Court, and had heard the arguments 
of the State's brightest legal luminaries, whose broad intel- 
lectualism was the wonder and the admiration of the time, 
and whose lives and reputations have done so much to mould 
and to make the Court's past and present history. 


The last great effort of Governor Bragg was in the Holden 
impeachment trial, the history of which is fresh in recollec- 
tion. He appeared for the State, and pressed with fervor the 
impeachment. He made a long, close, and exhaustive argu- 
ment, was listened to with the deepest and most marked atten- 
tion, and his speech was considered by many among the best 
of his life. When he concluded Mr. Conigland, one of Gov- 
ernor Holden's counsel, walked over to where he sat, and, 
taking his hand, said: " Governor, you have made a grand 
speech, but it docs not equal your Johnston will speech.'' 
Mr. Paul C. Cameron, who was his schoolmate and drill- 
master at Captain Partridge's military school, a man ripe in 
years, and yet riper in intellect, judgment, and learning, said 
that he had observed Governor Bragg from his early manhood 
to his death, and he had never known any one who had better 
sustained himself before the people in every capacity; and 
that though he was confronted in this trial by the strongest 
lawyers in the State, whose reputations were without limit, 
he considered that his speech was the most complete and ex- 
haustive of any delivered on that occasion. General Thomas 
L. Clingman, a statesman of the old school, pronounced this 
speech as " overwhelming and unanswerable." 

Governor Bragg was a well-fledged and thorough lawyer, 
and he made himself so by constant application and close 
study. He was a man of vigorous intellect and strong com- 
mon sense. He was one among the few lawyers who studied 
thoroughly his adversary's case and anticipated the points he 
would most likely present, and was generally ready to meet 
and combat them. In conducting the examination of a wit- 
ness he exhibited great tact and skill. This faculty of cross- 
examination, so effective in conducting suits, was a potent ele- 
ment in his practice, and gave him no little advantage in the 
trial of cases. 

He was an open and frank practitioner, never taking a 
" nigh cut," but was just and magnanimous, and was pos- 
sessed of the confidence and esteem of the profession through- 
out the State. He was as well-rounded a lawyer as the State 
ever had. 

Just thirteen months prior to his death he associated with 


him Judge George V. Strong, a leading lawyer of the Golds- 
boro bar. This was an able combination, and promised the 
utmost success, for during the term of their connection their 
practice amounted to over nineteen thousand dollars. 

Probably no two men were more generally pitted against 
each other in the courts which they attended than Governor 
Bragg and the late Chief Justice Smith. Their style of 
speaking was different. Governor Bragg's was simple, strong, 
and engaging; Judge Smith's was easy, forceful and very 
fluent. Their temperaments were also diverse. If an im- 
portant case went adversely to Governor Bragg he dismissed 
it from his mind, and was not depressed about it; but Judge 
Smith was for the time keenly sensitive, and took to heart the 
loss of his case. Their intercourse, however, notwithstanding 
these frequent conflicts, was genial and their friendship true; 
but Judge Smith accepted it not graciously that Governor 
Bragg should have come down into his district and taken 
part against him in his campaign for Congress against Doctoi 
Shaw. In a previous campaign with Colonel Outlaw, Doc- 
tor Shaw did not feel that Governor Bragg, who then resided 
in the district, had taken a sufficiently active part in his be- 
half, and being now hard pressed by Judge Smith, and the 
party needing all help at hand, Governor Bragg yielded to the 
general request and made several speeches in the district. 
But this spasmodic feeling soon vanished, this circumstance 
was forgotten, and these men left behind them lives alike well 
spent and distinguished and memories equally honored and 

When the Holden impeachment trial took place Governor 
Bragg had begun to fail, but not very perceptibly. The 
severe struggle, mental and physical, which he underwent 
during that trial hastened his end. He began soon after its 
conclusion rapidly to decline, and it was visible to all that his 
" last of earth " was fast approaching. It was painful to see 
the pallor of his countenance increase day by day, but he did 
not give up and it may be said that he worked in the harness 
up to his death. 

On Friday, the 19th of January, 1872, he took his bed, 
never again to arise from it. He knew he was going to die, 


but lie was calm and composed, exhibiting not the slight- 
est fear of death. He said: " For the benefit of my family 
I would like to live ten years longer, but apart from that the 
matter of death gives me no concern." 

His will was in his own handwriting, and in these words: 
"I give and bequeath to my wife, Isabella M. Bragg, all my 
real and personal estate of every description whatsoever. 
She knows my wishes, and I know she will carry them out." 
He was kept alive for a day or two with whiskey and gruel, 
and when this was given to him he would ask, u How much 
whiskey, and how much gruel?" Being told, he said, " You 
see the whiskey predominates. This is done to keep me alive 
for a little while, when I know I cannot live. I do not want 
it done. There is no use in keeping me alive in this way and 
giving you all the trouble of waiting on me. I protest 
against it." 

On the evening before he died the door-bell rang. He saw 
his friend Mr. Cowper go to the door, and on his return he 
asked who it was, and being told that it was Governor Gra- 
ham, said: "I have a high regard for him, and I regret very 
much that he was not asked in. I want you to go down to his 
room and tell him I am very sorry he was not brought in to 
see me, and that I should be pleased to see him." Governor 
Graham was much impressed and deeply moved when the 
message was delivered to him. 

On Saturday evening he called his family to his bedside, 
and in beautiful language of wisdom gave them counsel and 
advice. In the midst of sorrow which such a solemn occasion 
would naturally bring, his eye was not moistened, his voice 
did not falter, and as calmly as if he were going on a short 
journey, he imparted to them words of advice " like apples of 
gold in pictures of silver." " My children," said he, " I wish 
to impress one thing upon you: always stand together, com- 
fort and assist each other, consider that no necessity can arise 
by which you could feel justified in raising a hand or uttering 
;i word one against the other." 

Shortlv before his death lie uttered these words: "I have 


no doubt that I have my sins and transgressions to account for. 
All men must so account. I have endeavored to lead an ex- 


emplary life. I have never seen the time that I felt I could 
be induced, through fear, favor, affection, reward, or the hope 
of reward, to do otherwise than my conscience would dictate 
to me as right and proper. The future has always been to 
me, and is now, a deep, dark mystery." 

A little while before day on Sunday morning, while resting 
quietly, but not sleeping, he heard the sound of wood being- 
put on the fire in the adjoining room, and remarked: "It 
must be near day; I hear them making a fire in the next 
room." A few minutes after this he straightened himself in 
bed, placed his head on a line with his body, folded his arms 
across his breast, and in a little while was dead. It was on 
Sunday morning, January 21, 1872, about the hour of five 
o'clock, that he thus peacefully passed away in the sixty- 
second year of his age. He left a wife and seven children- 
three sons and four daughters. The wife and two sons have 
since " passed over the river " and entered the vale of the 
future and into the " deep, dark mystery." 

He was buried the next day in Oakwood Cemetery, near 
the city of Kaleigh. Both Houses of the Legislature and the 
Superior Court of AVake, then in session, adjourned for the 
clay, and all the business houses of the city closed their doors 
to show their respect for his character and worth. On the 
following day a large meeting was held in the Supreme 
Court-room to do further honor to the life and services of the 
distinguished dead. 

He was a man of kind heart, tender sympathies and noble 
impulses; a devoted husband and an indulgent father; and 
though he was not demonstrative, yet his friendship was 
valuable, because it was consistent and true. He was as 
true a man as ever trod the soil of his native land. 

The younger members of the bar will recall with pleasure 
his courteous bearing to them, the delight it seemed to give 
him to render them assistance, and the painstaking aid he 
would bestow when his legal advice was solicited. The older 
members will long remember his quiet and dignified de- 
meanor, his social intercourse, his manliness of character and 
his integrity, merit and worth. 

He possessed those qualities which adorn and elevate society 


and exalt and ennoble human character. He has left a high 
and noble name, a reputation unspotted and untarnished a 
priceless legacy to his posterity, and an enduring heritage to 
his State and country. It will not be dimmed as time pro- 

The account of the discussion at Murphy, Cherokee county, 
previously referred to, is reproduced, and appended hereto, 
as interesting matter, showing the impartiality with which 
it was done, and calling to mind some of the issues of former 
.and better days. This was Mr. Gilmer's first appointment, 
and Governor Bragg, seeing it announced in the Raleigh Reg- 
ister, went there to meet him. Desiring to put him on 
record, and have the East apprised of his position, he wrote 
the account of the discussion as given in the Standard of 
May, 1856, and sent it to the writer to deliver to Mr. Holden, 
with request that no intimation be given as to the writer of 
the article. ISTo mention of this was made until after Gover- 
nor Bragg's death, and upon the publication of this sketch. 

The Bragg and Dockery campaign closed on the day of 
election at Murphy in August, 1854, and the Bragg and 
Gilmer campaign opened there in May, 1856. 

(From the North Carolina Standard of May, 1856). 

MURPHY, CHEROKEE Co., May 9, 1856. 
Editors of the North Carolina Standard. 

Gentlemen: The discussion between the gubernatorial can- 
didates opened here yesterday, and I propose to give you the 
points made and the substance of what was said on that occa- 
sion. There were probably two hundred persons present, 
and there would have been more had it been generally known 
that both candidates would be present. Until Governor 
Bragg arrived it was doubted whether he would attend, as the 


Standard announcing his intention to do so did not reach 
us until the day of his arrival. 

Mr. Gilmer opened the discussion by informing the people 
that his name was John A. Gilmer that he was a candidate 
for the office of Governor, and had come among them for 
the purpose of presenting his claims for their suffrages. He 
said he had found the country beautiful and romantic far 
beyond his expectations never having before been on this side 
the mountains and that w T hen he was in the Legislature he 
voted for the measures introduced for their relief and for the 
improvement of their section. 

He said that a short time ago he had no intention of becom- 
ing a candidate that he had not now, nor ever had, any polit- 
ical ambition, but that he had listened to the importunities of 
friends, and had yielded rather to feeling than to his better 

He said the organ of the party to which his opponent 
belonged had said that he had a bad political record, and it had 
referred to many of his votes and addresses to show that he 
was a Western man. Well, he was ready to defend these 
votes and addresses; they were brought forward to injure him 
in the East. He was then justified in making an appeal to 
the people of the West to sustain him as a Western man. 
First, he was charged with having voted to distribute the 
school fund according to white instead of federal population. 
He said it was true and asked if he had not done right 
in so doing. He referred to the first law introduced and 
passed under the auspices of Bartlett Yancey, Esq., to raise 
the fund and distribute it among the white children of the 
State. In 1838-'39 it was submitted to the people and 
accepted on that basis. In 1842, when the Democrats got 
into power, they altered the law to the federal basis, the effect 
of which was to give to a child in the East five or six times 
as much as to one in the West, This was unjust, and was a 
violation of the original agreement upon which the fund was 
raised. He further said that had Western men been true to 
themselves, Governor Reid never could have been elected, 
occupying the position he did upon this question; that party 
was allowed to overcome their rights and true interests; for, 


taking the counties favoring the present mode of distributing 
the fund and those against it, there would be found a ma- 
jority of fourteen or fifteen thousand in the latter. In the 
vote he had given he had carried out the will of his constitu- 
ents, and he put it to them to say if it was fair to charge him 
with being a Western man with a view to injure him. He 
hoped, if such was the case, the West would stand by him. 
Next, as to free suffrage. He had been charged with being 
opposed to that. This was not true. He was always for it, 
provided it could be passed in a proper manner and with such 
guards and qualifications as, in his opinion, ought to go with 
it. He preferred a convention. He could not see why 
the West was disturbed on that question, willing as she 
was to go into convention on the federal basis. There all 
things could be settled. They could elect their justices of 
the peace by the people, and establish cheap justices' courts 
for the trial of petty offenses, and thus keep them from the 
courts; that it was important that justices should be elected by 
the people, as they laid the county taxes. 

He said he voted against the present free-suffrage bill be- 
cause there was no provision in it to prevent the undue taxa- 
tion of land; that the Senate, as now constituted, was a check 
on such taxation; but, abolish the freehold qualification for 
voters, and where would the check be ; that he had offered an 
amendment himself which, had it passed, he would have 
voted for the bill, and waived his objection to the legislative 
mode of amendment; that the object of this amendment was 
to provide simply a protection to lands by requiring land, the 
slave poll and white poll to be taxed alike; that, in his opinion, 
something ought to be adopted to protect the landholder. 

He said that the Standard had called him the " shin-plaster 
candidate," It was true that his face appeared upon the bills 
of a small bank in his town, but he was in no way concerned 
in the same, and had no interest in the institution. He was, 
however, opposed to the law, and would make war upon any 
law which undertook to do away with small notes. Why take 
away small notes, the only currency which a poor man could 
get? The rich could get large bills, but they were beyond 
the reach of a poor man. (Here Mr. Gilmer entered into a 


rather elaborate argument to sustain the policy of small bank- 
notes, and read the Bank Note Reporter and other authorities 
to show that true policy required their free circulation, and 
that the worst consequences had followed their discontinuance 
in some of the States.) 

He next shadowed forth a project for a new bank, to be 
owned in part by the State and part by individuals. For every 
one hundred dollars the State owns in railroad stock he would 
have her own a like amount in stock in the bank, and the same 
as to individuals; something was said also as to State bonds 
forming a part of the basis, but the writer did not clearly 
catch the idea. 

It was insisted, however, by Mr. Gilmer, that such a bank 
would be very profitable, and that the State would realize 
enough from the profits to pay the interest of the State debt, 
and relieve the people from taxation; and the plan was, he 
said, for the bank to issue mostly one and two dollar notes for 
currency, as in South Carolina. 

He was, too, in favor of having our State bonds, and the 
interest on the same, payable in North Carolina, and not in 
New York, and thus keeping the money of our people at 
home. He said the national debt of England, being due to 
her own people, strengthened her, while ours acted as a con- 
tinual drain to pay interest in New York. 

After speaking one and a half hours, Mr. Gilmer said he 
desired, before he closed, to say something on Federal politics, 
and the principles of the American party, of which he was a 

He said when Mr. Fillmore left the Presidency all was quiet. 
He had approved of the Compromise measures; and when Bos- 
ton had rebelled against the fugitive-slave law, he declared he 
would enforce the law or burn the city, and it was enforced. 
We had extremists at both ends of the Union. Formerly, the 
Nashville Convention said the Union should be dissolved 
unless the Missouri Compromise line should be adopted. 
Now, the black Republicans said it should be dissolved unless 
it was restored. 

Mr. Fillmore, in his message, said the existing laws were a 
finality on the subject of slavery both the great parties said 


so in 1852, and agreed to abide by it. Did they do it? No; 
hence the troubles we now have. He had no doubt but that 
Mr. Pierce had acted honestly, but he had appointed free- 
soilers from the North and fire-eaters from the South, in order 
to reconcile all ; but this had not been the result, and the coun- 
try could only be saved by the honest men of both parties. 
He, therefore, advocated the principles of the American party 
that Americans should rule America that the influence of 
foreigners was great that it gave the North a preponderating 
increase of population that it ought to be checked, and that 
foreigners ought to remain here twenty-one years before vot- 
ing, and that Catholics who owed allegiance to the Pope ought 
not to be allowed to hold office; that no one could insist that 
this was persecution; that the charge that it was was false and 
unfounded, and it was known to be so. 

He then asked who was the founder of the American party. 
Said it was George Washington, and read from several of his 
letters to show it. He also read from a speech of Mr. Buch- 
anan as to foreign influence, etc., and, after justifying the 
course of his party as to the Catholics, he closed, having 
spoken two hours and ten minutes. 

Governor Bragg arose, and said: Two years ago this sum- 
mer he closed the canvass with his then competitor. It had 
pleased a majority of the people of the State to elect him 
Governor. He had acted as such since the first of January, 
1855. He had endeavored to discharge all his duties faith- 
fully. The people, however, would be the judges of that. 
He would say, however, that he was not aware of a?ry charges 
against him for not doing so; and if there w T as no just ground 
for complaint, then he submitted to all fair-minded men 
whether he had not now some right to ask at their hands a 
liberal and generous support in the present contest. 

He said he concurred with Mr. Gilmer as to the beauty and 
fertility of their country, and as to what he had said in relation 
to its improvement, and hoped to see the day when its now 
comparatively hidden and locked up resources would be laid 
open and developed. 

He said that he was surprised to hear his competitor to-day 
enter into the discussion of some matters which he had not 


supposed would be brought into this canvass, and he was still 
more surprised to see the manner in which he had treated 
them. His competitor complained that the Standard had 
assailed him for his vote some years ago as to the distribution 
of the school fund. This was a mistake. The Standard had 
never, to his knowledge referred to it at all. It may have 
been done in some other paper, but his competitor would find, 
as he had done in a former contest, that it was useless to 
notice attacks of that kind. If he did, he would have his 
hands full. But, from the course of his competitor, he rather 
thought he was availing himself of this matter to get votes in 
this section. He had made an elaborate argument to show 


the gross injustice of the present mode of distributing the 
school-fund, and had undertaken to show that the Democratic 
party was responsible for it; that the original pledge for dis- 
tributing the fund had been violated; that the West had not 
been true to her own interests, or she would have defeated 
Governor Reid; and he had made a strong appeal to the people 
here as a Western man. 

ISTow, said Mr. Bragg, I claim not your support either as an 
Eastern man or a Western man, but as one who intends to dis- 
card all sectional questions, looking to the interests and wishes 
of the whole State- But Mr, Gilmer is in error as to one 
thing the fund chiefly for common schools was not raised by 
Mr. Yancey's bill, but came from the General Government as 
part of the surplus revenue under General Jackson's adminis- 
tration. Xor did the' Democrats of 1842 introduce the 
present mode of distribution by a repeal of any other law, 
but it was done before that time it was not a party vote, but 
it was one about which there was difference of opinion and 
contest without the slightest regard to party. Time and again 
the matter was brought before the Legislature, but for several 
years past the question had ceased to be raised. It was con- 
sidered as settled. In the last contest it was so considered 
between him and his competitor, and he regretted that Mr. 
Gilmer had deemed it proper to reopen it. It would do no 
good; it would again lead to sectional strife; it would retard 
the public improvements of the State, and nothing practical 
would come of it, because experience had shown that it could 


not be changed. It would even injure the common schools 
which were now doing well and improving under the efficient 
management of our State Superintendent. Governor Bragg 
said that he had no wish to conceal his own opinions on this 
subject. He was against disturbing the matter. He would say 
so in the "West; he would say so in the East. And now, said 
he, turning to Mr. Gilmer, I want my competitor to state his 
position. He has said a great deal about the matter, but has 
not told you what he will recommend in case he should be 

(At first Mr. Gilmer declined to answer, but before the 
discussion closed he said that the opinions advanced by him 
were his private opinions; but if elected Governor he would 
not recommend any change, but would acquiesce in the 
present law, whatever his own opinions might be.) 

Then, said Governor Bragg, there is practically no differ- 
ence between us. But my competitor makes a public argu- 
ment in order to express his private opinions, and makes it in" 
such a way as he thinks will get him votes here. I hope, said 
Governor Bragg, lie will take the same course all over the 

As to free suffrage, Governor Bragg said that his competi- 
tor professed to be a great free-suffrage man, but somehow 
always voted against it. Formerly, we were told that it was 
wrong to pass it by the Legislature; that it must be done by 
a convention. That was the objection two years ago. He 
had then told the people that it was idle to talk about a con- 
vention; that the action of the several Legislatures for years 
past had shown it to be so; that we must take things as they 
are, and act accordingly. ~Now he would remind the people of 
what he said, and would ask if it was not true, for, if they 
would examine the journals of the last General Assembly, 
they would find that the convention bill, when offered in the 
Senate, received the votes only of some sixteen out of the fifty 
members, and in the House of Commons never received, in 
any of the different shapes in which it was offered, more than 
forty out of one hundred and twenty members, thus showing, 
conclusively, that there was a large majority two to one 
against a convention in the Commons, in which, house the 


has a majority opposed to the call of a convention; whilst 
upon the passage, in the same House, of the free-suffrage bill, 
there were only fifteen votes against it, the members from 
Cherokee and most of the mountain counties who had voted 
for a convention voting for the bill. But his competitor, as 
already stated, had in every case voted against the bill, and 
says he is yet against it, unless an amendment offered by him, 
or some other, could be adopted; and, as that cannot be done 
now, the bill having passed through one Legislature, and to 
amend it would be to destroy it, of course his competitor was 
opposed to it. Governor Bragg said that the opponents of 
this measure were always finding some objection to it. First, 
it was to be done by an open convention, then by a restricted 
convention, and now it seems his competitor falls back upon 
an old objection always urged by those in favor of keeping 
things as they are, that there is danger that the landed interest 
would be burdened unduly with taxes. This was altogether 
chimerical such had not been the case in other States. It was 
the largest and most powerful interest in the State, and mem- 
bers of the Assembly could not do such a thing and sustain 
themselves at home. ISTor was it likely they ever would 
attempt it, inasmuch as they themselves must be landholders, 
and would suffer as well as other land proprietors. The thing 
was preposterous. Let the freemen of the State, then, be true 
to themselves, and the measure would be passed. But let them 
be on their guard. Every effort will be made by open ene- 
mies and pretended friends to defeat it. 

As to the tempting bait held out to them of having cheap 
courts and trials of petty offenses before justices of the peace, 
and thus keeping such matters out of court, no one knew 
better than Mr. Gilmer that the Legislature had power to do 
that without a convention; and if he thought it expedient, he 
ought to have done it when in the Legislature. 

As to Mr. Gilrner's bank notions, in relation to which he 
wished to know Governor Bragg's opinion, he, Governor 
Bragg, stated he should have it w T henever he would set them 
out with such plainness as to enable him to see what they 

His competitor made brave promises, however, to the people 


that it would pay the interest on the State debt, and save 
them from taxation. He would say this he did not believe 
that interest, debts, and taxes could be paid by any such legis- 
lative liocus pocus. As to small notes, the Governor said that 
the matter was not one of a party character; that he had no 
wish to follow Mr. Gilmer into that discussion, as it would 
consume all his time, and he much preferred to discuss what 
the Know-Nothing platform called the " Paramount Prin- 
ciples of Americanism " ; and he would proceed to that after 
saying a word as to Mr. Gilmer's idea that our State bonds 
and the interest thereon should all be payable in North Caro- 
lina. Had he seen as much of this matter as I have done, 
said Governor Bragg, since I went into office, he would 
change his opinion. He said it would all be well enough to 
have our bonds paid here, if they could be sold here in suf- 
ficient quantities. But our public works would have stopped 
had they depended on sales in North Carolina, and our Treas- 
urer and railroad presidents would tell him so; and more- 
over, that bonds payable here could not be sold in New York. 

The Legislature had not taken the view of his competitor, 
and he thought they had acted wisely. 

Governor Bragg said that he thought that the allusion of 
Mr. Gilmer to Mr. Fillmore and his execution of the fugitive- 
slave law was exceedingly unfortunate. In that case the 
negroes were allowed to be taken away from the United States 
authorities and carried off. In the case of Mr. Pierce, An- 
thony Burns, by the aid of the whole power of the Govern- 
ment was returned to his owner. 

His competitor talked a great deal about the peace and quiet 
of Mr. Fillmore's administration, and charges Black Republi- 
cans and Democrats with causing all the excitement and dan- 
ger of the existing troubles, and he stands upon a platform, 
said Governor Bragg, which denounces the administration for 
having recklessly and unwisely repealed the Missouri Com- 
promise a pretty platform for a Southern man to stand upon, 
especially when adopted in place of that of the year before. 
He read from the speech of Mr. Badger to show that all the 
Whig Senators from the South supported the Kansas-Ne- 
braska Bill, except one, and that the measure was passed by 


Northern and Southern Democrats and Southern Whigs, and 
that Mr. Badger said it was right and proper that it should 

Governor Bragg then the history of the Missouri Com- 
promise line showed how unjust it was to the South orig- 
inally, that the South had, however, shown every disposition 
to abide by it, and had time and again sought to have it ex- 
tended over the new territory to the Pacific, while the North 
repudiated that line. The South was, therefore, not properly 
chargeable with any breach of faith, and was right to get rid 
of the odious act, Now, he said, there were questions of vital 
importance growing out of that matter, and he wished to know 
where our Know-Nothing opponents stood with regard to 
them. But no one could tell. "What was Mr. Fillmore's 
opinion upon any one of these questions? Nobody knew. 
He had said nothing while at home, and at the last accounts, 
strange as it might seem to Know-Nothing ears, he was in the 
city of Rome partaking of the hospitalities of the Pope. 
\Yhen the matter is pressed, w r e are told that the party 
eschews all sectional questions, state and national, in order 
that the " Paramount Principles of Americanism " may have 
full play, thus raising the question only, who shall hold the 
offices of the country, and not, in what manner our govern- 
ment shall be administered. Can it be possible, said Gov- 
ernor Bragg, that the people will be thus humbugged and 
trifled with when the country is in danger? 

Governor Bragg said he would then examine the claims of 
this new party. He went into a full examination of its princi- 
ples; stated what had been its history North and South; what 
had been its fruits in different sections; how it sent nothing 
but abolitionists and freesoilers to Congress, and challenged his 
competitor to point to one solitary Northern national man of 
his party in either house of Congress ; gave the history of the 
election of Speaker of the House of Representatives, and how 
not one of them voted for Aiken when the contest was between 
him and Banks, although five of them had voted for him the 
day before, including their candidate Fuller. 

He then examined into its origin, and traced out the ma- 
chinery of the whole thing; showed that it was a monstrous 


attempt to subvert the plan of government adopted by our 
fathers, and to substitute in its stead these worse than mid- 
night Jacobin clubs. But I am unable to follow the Gov- 
ernor through this part of his speech without too much pro- 

He exposed their constitutions, rituals, obligations and 
oaths, some of which he read. Said they had been hunted 
from their dark places in this State, and now profess to have 
done away with all this how and in what way does not ap- 
pear while at the North these councils, as appears from their 
last national platform, are still kept up. 

He concluded by saying that such a party did not deserve 
support of a free people, nor did he believe they would receive 
it. He was willing to go before the people of North Caro- 
lina on this subject, and should do so confident of success. 

Mr. Cowper himself selected Governor Bragg' s account of 
the discussion above given as illustrative of his judicial fair- 
ness of mind, and I have adopted it for all purposes. Of 
course there is nothing in it to show Bragg's strength of in- 
tellect. The discussion as reported is interesting, however, 
as a side-light on those times. 

Bragg was essentially a lawyer. His practical sagacity 
and hard common sense, however, as well as his wide political 
reading, made him a success both in politics and law, a rare 

His speech in the Holden impeachment would give a better 
idea of his talents, but it is too long for the scope of this 
work; and all the facts and speeches of every trial should be 
published together in justice to the accused. 

This sketch was written in 1891, and is here given in a 
slightly abbreviated form. 




William Alexander Graham was born on the 5th day of 
September, 1804, in the county of Lincoln. He was for- 
tunate alike in the race from which he sprang and in his own 
ancestry. The race was that which, by a change of residence 
from Scotland to Ireland, anterior to its immigration to this 
country, acquired, as it were, a double nationality and name, 
to wit: Scotch-Irish. 

The ancestry of Mr. Graham were deeply imbued with the 
spirit of this people. His maternal grandfather, Major John 
"Davidson, was one of the signers of the Mecklenburg 
Declaration, and acted a conspicuous part in the Revolution. 
The name of his father, General Joseph Graham, is one of 
the best known in our Revolutionary annals. The bio- 
graphical sketch incorporated into Wheeler's History is a 
brief but noble record. 

His mother was distinguished for her personal beauty- 
distinguished as well for her sense, piety and many amiable 
virtues. But death deprived him of her fostering care before 
he had attained his fourth year, and he was then consigned 
to the care of an elder sister. The tender affection and 
respect with which he always referred to this sister, attests 
how fully she discharged a mother's duty. 

He received the rudiments of his education in the com- 
mon schools of the country. He commenced his classical 


education in the academy at Statesville, then under the care 
of the Rev. Dr. Muchat, a scholar of good repute. Mr. Gra- 
ham verified the apparent paradox of Wordsworth, 

"The child is father of the man." 

He was noted, from his earlier years, for his industry, his 
thirst for knowledge and his aptitude to learn. One who 
knew him well testifies that from his childhood he was no 


less remarkable for liis high sense of truth and honor than 
for his exemption from the levities and vices common to 
youth. At this academy he applied himself to his studies 
with the most exemplary diligence. A classmate at that 
time says of him, " He was the only boy I ever knew who 
would spend his Saturdays in reviewing the studies of the 

An incident which occurred about this time affords a 
striking proof of his early force of character. General Gra- 
ham was a pioneer in a branch of industry yet but little 
developed in this State the manufacture of iron. Upon his 
removal to Lincoln he established a furnace and forge, which, 
at the time now spoken of, had become quite extensive. 
From some cause the works were left without a superinten- 
dent. The General installed his son William, though then 
but a boy, and wholly without experience, at the head of 
the establishment; and the energy and judgment with which 
he conducted it, obtained his father's entire approval. He 
was next sent to the academy at Hillsborough. 

From this academy he went to the University of the 
State, where he was matriculated in the summer of 1820. 
His course throughout his college life was admirable in every 
way. He appreciated the scheme of study there established, 
not only as the best discipline of the intellect, but as the 
best foundation for knowledge in its widest sense. He mas- 
tered his lessons so perfectly, that each lesson became a per- 
manent addition to his stock of knowledge. The professors 
rarely failed to testify by a smile, or some other token, their 
approval of his proficiency. On one occasion, Professor Olrn- 
stead (who has achieved a wide reputation in the field of 
science) remarked to one of his classmates that his lecture on 
chemistry came back as perfectly from Mr. Graham as he had 
uttered it on the previous day. 

Some thirty years after, the same professor in a letter to 
Mr. Graham (then Secretary of the Navy) uses this language: 
" It has often been a source of pleasing reflection to me, that 
I was permitted to bear some part in fitting you, in early life, 
for that elevated post of honor and usefulness to which Provi- 
dence has conducted you." 


His high sense of duty was manifested in his conscientious 
deportment under the peculiar form of government to which 
he was then subject. His observance of every law and usage 
of the college was punctilious; while, to the faculty, he was 
ever scrupulously and conspicuously respectful. 

His extraordinary proficiency was purchased by no labo- 
rious drudgery. The secret of it was to be found in the pre- 
cept which he acted upon, through life : " AVhatsoever thy 
hand findeth to do, do it with thy might." His powers of 
concentration were great, his perceptions quick, his memory 
powerful, prompt, and assiduously improved. By the joint 
force of such faculties, he could accomplish much in little 
time. Hence, notwithstanding his exemplary attention to 
his college studies, he devoted much time to general read- 
ing. It was at this time, no doubt, that he laid up much of 
that large and varied stock of information upon which he 
drew, at pleasure, in after life. 

Intent upon availing himself to the full, of every advan- 
tage afforded him, he applied himself assiduously to the 
duties of the Literary Society of which he was a member. 
He participated regularly in the debates and other exercises 
of that body. For all such he prepared himself with care; 
and it is asserted by the same authority, to which I have 
already referred a most competent judge that his com- 
positions were of such excellence that, in a. literary point of 
view, they would have challenged comparison with anything 
done by him in after life. 

His engaging manners brought him into pleasant relations 
with all his fellow-students. He lived with them upon terms 
of the frankest and most familiar intercourse. In their 
most athletic sports he never participated, but he was a 
pleased spectator, and evinced by his manner a hearty sym- 
pathy with their enjoyments. His favorite exercise was 
walking, and those who knew him well will recollect that 
this continued to be his favorite recreation while health was 
spared him. With his friends and chosen companions he was 
cordial and easy, and always the life of the circle. 

The class of which he was a member was graduated in 
1824. It was the largest up to that time; and, for capacity 


and proficiency, esteemed the best. It was declared by Pro- 
fessors Olmstead and Mitchell, that Yale might well have 
been been proud of such a class. It embraced many who 
afterward won high distinction in political and professional 

No one could have availed himself to a greater extent 
than Mr. Graham did, of the opportunities presented in his 
collegiate career. " His college life, in all its duties and ob- 
ligations," says the gentleman before quoted, " was an epi- 
tome of his career upon the stage of the world." He adds 
that on the day when he received his diploma, he could, with 
his usual habits of study, have filled any chair with honor 
to himself and acceptance to his class. Such is the emphatic 
testimony of one who himself graduated with high distinction 
in the same class. Might we not subjoin, building upon the 
above remark, that his career in after life was, in great part, 
the logical result of the discipline and training to which he 
submitted himself, so conscientiously, in his college life? 

After graduation he made an excursion to some of the 
western States, which occupied a few months. While at 
Lexington, he heard Mr. Crittenden address the jury in a 
great slander or libel case. The speech, which was worthy 
of the great advocate's fame, made a profound impression 
upon Mr. Graham. It may have had some influence in deter- 
mining his choice of a profession, or in fixing it, if already 
made. From this tour he returned in 1824, and entered upon 
the study of the law in the office of Judge Ruffin. 

He obtained his County Court license in the summer of 
1826. At August term of the court he appeared at the Orange 
bar. The rule then required, between the admission to prac- 
tice in the County Court and the admission to practice in the 
Superior Court, a novitiate of one year. This period he spent 
in Ilillsborough that he might continue to profit by the 
instruction of his learned preceptor. At the end of the year 
he received his Superior Court license. It was now a ques- 
tion where he should establish himself for the practice of his 
profession. The counties of Mecklenburg, Cabarrus and Lin- 
coln were filled with his blood relations, connections and 
friends. They were among the most distinguished for their 


wealth, intelligence and Revolutionary service. Their com- 
bined influence would give him command of all the impor- 
tant business of those counties, and place him at the outset 
in the position of a leader of the bar. The prospect in 
Orange and the adjoining counties was widely different. In 
these latter counties he would have no adventitious advan- 
tages. The business of these counties, moreover, was en- 
grossed by an able and a numerous bar. At the first court 
which he attended after he obtained his Superior Court 
license they mustered to the number of twenty-six. A large 
proportion of these were young men recently admitted to 
practice; but after deducting these, and many more of longer 
standing and respectable position, there still remained a bar 
which for learning, abilities and eloquence was never sur- 
passed in this State. Of resident lawyers there were Thomas 
Ixiiffin, Archibald D. Murphy, Willie P. Mangum, Francis 
L. Hawks and Frederick Nash; of lawyers attending the 
court, from other counties, there were George E. Badger, Wil- 
liam H. Haywood and Bartlett Yancey. What recollections 
of renown connected with the forum, the Senate, and the 
church, flood the mind as we recall these names ! Fain would 
I pause to contemplate the career of these illustrious men, 
by which the character of North Carolina was so much ele- 
vated in the consideration of the world, and so much of honor 
brought to the State. But other subjects press upon me 
subjects of more immediate interest. 

Notwithstanding this formidable competition a compe- 
tition which might well dismay one at the outset of profes- 
sional life Mr. Graham resolved to fix his residence at Hills- 
borough. Two reasons were assigned by him for this conclu- 
sion: first, an unwillingness to relinquish the foothold he 
had gained in the county courts of Orange, Granville and 
Guilford; second, a reluctance to sever the associations 
formed with his professional brethren at those courts. An- 
other reason, quite as potent, probably, was a well-grounded 
confidence in his own abilities, and in his knowledge of his 
profession. Against such men he entered the lists, and 
against such he had to contend; not indeed all at the same 
time, but all within a period of two years. It may be men- 



tioned as an instance of the vicissitudes of human life, that 
five years from the August of that year 1827 not one of 
those illustrious men remained at that bar. 

His first case of importance in the Superior Court was one 
which, from peculiar causes, excited great local interest. It 
involved an intricate question of title to land. On the day 
of trial, the court room was crowded and the bar fully 
occupied by lawyers many of them men of the highest pro- 
fessional eminence. When he came to address the jury, he 
spoke with modesty, but with ease and self-possession. His 
preparation of the case had been thorough, and the argu- 
ment which he delivered is described as admirable, both as 
to matter and manner. "When he closed Hon. William 
H. Haywood, who had then risen to a high position at the 
bar, turned to a distinguished gentleman, still living, of the 
same profession, and inquired who had prepared the argu- 
ment which Mr. Graham had so handsomely delivered. The 
answer was, "It is all his own; ' : to which Mr. Haywood 
replied with the observation, " William Gaston could have 
done it no better." 

Mr. Graham knew none of that weary probation which 
has been the lot of so many able men. His argument in the 
case just mentioned at once gave him a position of promi- 
nence. It was not long before he attained a place in the 
front rank of his profession. Here, with the large stores of 
professional knowledge which he had laid up, it was easy to 
sustain himself. His high mental qualifications, his habits 
of study, his perseverance, his unalterable faith in his cause, 
brought to him a constantly increasing business, and a con- 
stantly widening reputation. He was early, for so young a 
man, retained in the most important causes in the courts in 
which he practiced, and his associate counsel generally gave 
him the leading position in the trial. 

In 1833 he was elected a member of the General Assem- 
bly from the town of Hillsborough. His first appearance on the 
floor has an interest from the relations subsequently existing 
between him and the distinguished man to whom the mo- 
tion submitted by him had reference. He rose to move the 
sending of a message to the Senate to proceed to the election 


of a Governor of the State, and to put in nomination Gov- 
ernor Swain. A day or two after lie had the satisfaction of 
reporting that that gentleman who was ever afterward 
united to him in the closest bonds of friendship had received 
a majority of votes, and of being named as first on the com- 
mittee to inform him of his election. He took, from the be- 
ginning, an active part in the business of the House relating 
to banks, law amendments and education. 

I record an incident which attests the high consideration 
which he had already acquired in the country, and the im- 
portance attached to his opinion. Judge Gaston had been 
elected in 1833 to a seat on the Supreme Court Bench by a 
majority of two-thirds of the General Assembly. He had 
been brought up in the Roman Catholic faith the faith of 
his fathers the faith in which he died. The thirty-second 
section of the old constitution declared incapable of holding 
office all those who " deny the truth of the Protestant reli- 
gion." Some dissatisfaction had been expressed at his accept- 
ing a judicial office under a constitution containing this 
clause, which in the opinion of some, excluded him. For 
some time he did not deem it necessary to advert to the 
matter. In 1834 November 12 he addressed a letter to Mr. 
Graham, enclosing a written paper, in which he stated suc- 
cinctly, but with great clearness and force, the reasoning by 
which his acceptance had been determined. In the conclu- 
sion of his letter he referred it to Mr. Graham's judgment, to 
determine what degree of publicity should be given to the 
paper. Whether it was ever published we do not know; but 
when we consider Judge Gaston's high station and great 
name in the country, and that the purity of that name was in 
a measure at stake, the incident must be regarded as a sin- 
gular tribute to the character which Mr. Graham had thus 
early established. It is well known how Judge Gaston 
availed himself of his place in the Convention of 1835 to set 
forth to the world the reasons by which his decision had been 
influenced reasons so cogent and conclusive as to satisfy 
every mind. It is known, too, that the object of the great 
speech delivered by him then an object happily accom- 
plished was to bring about such a modification of the ob- 
noxious clause as to deprive it of all sectarian intolerance. 


Mr. Graham was again a member from Hillsborough in the 
year 1835. In the organization of the committees the post 
of chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary was assigned 
to him, and the journals bear testimony to the diligence with 
which its duties were discharged. It was through him, in his 
capacity of chairman, that the various reports of the commis- 
sioners to revise the statute laws of the State the Revised 
Code being then in progress were submitted to the House. 

From the abilities displayed and the high position held by 
him in the Legislature, we should naturally expect to find 
him in the Constitutional Convention of 1835. It has been 
well said that the county of Orange has been to North Caro- 
lina, what Virginia has been to the Union, the mother of 
statesmen. On this occasion, by one of those caprices which 
sometimes seize upon communities as well as individuals, the 
noble old county seemed to care little for her ancient renown. 
There seems to have been no action by the county to secure 
delegates worthy of her former reputation. We learn from 
the remarks of one of the delegates in the Convention, that 
there were ten candidates in the field, and that the successful 
candidates were returned by so small a vote as to call forth 
a taunt from a member of the Convention. In such a con- 
test Mr. Graham had no desire to enter the field; indeed, 
whenever he offered himself for the suffrages of his country- 
men, it was as the chosen champion of the principles of a 
great party. 

He again represented the county of Orange in the Legis- 
latures of 1838 and 1840, in both of which he was elected 
Speaker. This withdrew him from the arena of debate, and 
we learn little more of him from the journals of those ses- 
sions than the uniform punctuality and universal accepta- 
bility with which he discharged the duties of that high 

A revolution in the politics of the State brought about a 
vacancy, in 1840, in the representation from North Carolina 
in the Senate of the United States. Mr. Strange, under in- 
structions, had resigned his seat; the term of the other Sen- 
ator was near its end. There w r ere thus two terms to be filled 
by the Legislature of 1841. Mr. Mangum was elected for 


the full term, Mr. Graham for the nnexpired term. This 
election \va.s considered by Mr. Graham as the most em- 
phatic testimonial of the confidence and favor of the State 
which he received during his life. Mr. Mangum and he were 
residents of the same county, and of the many able men who 
might justly advance claims to the other seat Mr. Graham 
was the youngest. Certainly an election under such circum- 
stances constituted a tribute of peculiar significance and 

He was among the youngest members of the Senate when 
he took his seat; but he soon commanded the esteem and 
respect of the entire body. That, it has been truly said, was 
preeminently the age of great men in American parliamen- 
tary history, and of such he was regarded as the worthy 
compeer. " He never rose to speak," says a distinguished 
gentleman (Mr. Rayner), who was himself a member of Con- 
gress at that time, " that he did not receive the most respectful 
attention. When the Senate went into Committee of the 
AY hole he was usually called upon to preside. Reports from 
him as chairman of a committee almost invariably secured the 
favorable consideration of the Senate." From the same au- 
thority we learn that the relations existing between him and 
Mr. Clay were of the most kindly and intimate character, and 

i/ i/ 

that -Mr. Clay " regarded him as a most superior man, socially 
and intellectually." 

The period during which Mr. Graham was in the Senate 
was one of the most stormy in our political annals. The 
Whig party had just achieved a great victory, and Harrison 
and Tyler had been elected by an immense majority. That 
party reckoned confidently that it would now be able to carry 
out those great principles of government, for which it had 
so long contended, and which had been so signally approved 
in the recent election. In the midst of these patriotic antici- 
pations, General Harrison died, and Mr. Tyler succeeded to 
the Presidential chair. Mr. Tyler had adopted the platform 
of the Whig party, and in his address, upon assuming the 
duties of his high office, he did not intimate the least change 
of policy from that which his predecessor had announced in 
his inaugural. He had, moreover, retained the same consti- 


tutional advisers. The statesmen of the Whig party now set 
to work to redeem the pledges which had been made to the 
country. A great financial measure was passed; this was 
vetoed by the President. A second measure of the same 
kind, framed in conformity to the views indicated in his veto 
message, was passed, which was vetoed in like manner. A 
tariff bill was passed, but this shared the same fate. Efforts 
were made to pass these bills over the President's veto, but in 
every instance the veto was sustained by the opposite party. 
The result of these repeated disappointments was that all 
hope of united and efficient action in carrying out the great 
principles of the Whig party was finally abandoned. 

The administration of Mr. Van Buren had largely exceeded 
the revenues. Provision for this deficiency had to be made 
by the incoming administration. To meet an emergency so 
pressing a bill was introduced, known as the " Loan Bill." 
It was strongly opposed, among others, by Mr. Calhoun, in a 
speech of characteristic force and compass. So far as the 
Whigs were concerned it was an appeal by the administra- 
tion for aid, to a party which it had betrayed. Mr. Graham 
only recollected that the good of the country was involved, 
and gave it his support. " I will not," said he, " stop the 
action of the government by denying it the means of going 
on, no matter who may be in power." The speech which he 
delivered on this bill was eminently able and statesmanlike. 
lie demonstrated the necessity of the measure; he traced 
out the cause of the deficiency, and pointed out the remedy. 
The subject has little interest to the general reader at this 
day, yet in that speech there are passages of such profound 
reflection and philosophic scope as will give it a value to 
the political student at all times. 

When the Apportionment bill in 1842 was under consid- 
eration, very strong opposition, headed by Mr. Buchanan, of 
Pennsylvania, and Mr. Wright, of New York, was made to 
the districting clause. Mr. Graham, on June the 3d, ad- 
dressed the Senate in support of the clause. In a calm, con- 
densed, weighty and conclusive argument, he demonstrated 
that the district system of electing Representatives to Con- 
gress, was in conformity to the true theory of representative 


government, and was the one contemplated and expected by 
the framers of the government; that it was sanctioned by 
usage almost unanimous in the old States, and by the usage 
of two-thirds of the new; that the general ticket system was 
fraught with evils, public and private; nay, with dangers to 
the Union. There was a passage in that debate which so 
forcibly illustrates the high moral plane upon which he dis- 
cussed public affairs that I cannot pass it by. It was ob- 
jected by Mr. TVoodbury, of JSTew Hampshire, that if the act 
were passed by Congress, it had no means of enforcing it. 
He wished to know whether an armed force or a writ of 
mandamus would be sent to the State Legislatures to compel 
them to lay off the districts. In reply Mr. Graham showed 
that if, notwithstanding the law, a State should return 
members according to general ticket, the House of Repre- 
sentatives, as judge of the election of its members, could 
pronounce such election a nullity. " But the duties of the 
States under our Constitution," said he, " are not to be de- 
termined by their liability to punishment, but by the cove- 
nants into which they entered by that instrument. It is 
faith, honor, conscience, and not the ' hangman's whip,' on 
which, at last rest the blessings of this noblest human insti- 
tution which has ever been devised for the security, the 
welfare and happiness of man." In this exclamation, he un- 
consciously announced those great principles by which his 
own conduct through life was regulated, and to whose 
slightest behest he ever yielded an unhesitating obedience. 

A short time after July 25, 1842 he received the fol- 
lowing letter from Chancellor Kent: "I thank you for your 
speech on the districting clause of the Apportionment bill. 
I have read it carefully, and I deem it in every respect logi- 
cal, conclusive, and a vindication of the power assumed by 
the bill, in language clear and specific, tempered with due 
moderation and firmness. The district system is essential to 
check and control the cunning machinery of faction." 

After the expiration of his term March 3, 1843 Mr. 
Graham resumed the practice of his profession. 

In 1844 he was nominated by the Whig party of North 
Carolina for the office of Governor. He had not sought the 


nomination; nay, would have declined it if lie could have 
done so consistently with his high conceptions of the duty 
of a citizen. In 183G he had married the daughter of the 
late John Washington, Esq., of New Bern, a lady of rare 
beauty and accomplishments a union which brought to him 
as much of happiness as it is the lot of man to know. From 
this union a young and growing family was gathering around 
him. His patrimony had not been large, and the require- 
ments of his family demanded his constant professional exer- 
tions. He was now at the summit of his profession, and his 
emoluments would be limited only by the nature of the 
business in an agricultural State, where commerce existed 
to only a small extent, and manufactures were in their 
infancy. His attention had been much withdrawn from his 
profession during his senatorial career, and besides the ex- 
pense and loss of time in a State canvass, he would, if elected, 
be entirely precluded from the exercise of his profession 
during his term of office. The salary of the office was small, 
and a residence in the capital as Chief Magistrate would 
render necessary an increased scale of expense. On the other 
hand were considerations of great weight. Letters came to 
him from many gentlemen of high standing in various parts 
of the State, pressing his acceptance by every consideration 
that could be addressed to an elevated mind. Moreover, he- 
was not unmindful of the honors which had been conferred 
upon him, and not ungrateful. He held, too, that the cir- 
cumstances must be very exceptional which could justify a 
citizen in withholding his services \vhen called to a public 
station by the general voice of the people. To- determine 
his duty cost him much anxious reflection; but the latter 
consideration proved decisive. The decision once made, he 
acted with his accustomed energy. 

His nomination was hailed with satisfaction throughout 
the Union. Among other letters which he then received, 
giving expression to this feeling, was one from Mr. Clay. 
In conclusion he thus expressed himself: " Still, I should 
have preferred that you were in another situation, where the 
whole Union would have benefited by your services." 

His opponent was Colonel Mike Hoke. He was bora in 


the same county with Mr. Graham, and was nearly of the 
same age. He was a gentleman of fine person, of fine ad- 
dress, of considerable legislative experience, and of high 
position at the bar. The canvass was well contested on both 
sides; on the part of Mr. Graham it was conducted with 
surpassing ability. When it came to the vote he led his 
competitor by several thousand majority. 

He was inaugurated on the 1st of January, 1845, the oaths 
of office being administered by Chief Justice Ruffin. The 
Raleigh Register of that date remarks, that " the audience 
which witnessed the ceremony, for everything that could 
make the occasion imposing, has never been surpassed within 
our recollection. The lobbies and galleries were crowded 
with strangers and citizens, and a brilliant assemblage of 

His first term was so acceptable that he was elected to the 
second by a largely increased vote. His two terms embrace 
that period, during which North Carolina made the greatest 
progress in all her interests. The messages of his very able 
predecessor, Governor Morehead, followed up by his own, 
drew the attention of the whole State to the subject of internal 
improvements, and a powerful impulse was given to that 
great interest. 

In a letter, Mr. Webster writes as follows: "The tone 
which your message holds, in regard to the relations between 
the State Government and the General Government, is just, 
proper, dignified and constitutional, and the views which it 
presents on questions of internal policy, the development of 
resources, the improvement of markets, and the gradual ad- 
vancement of industry and wealth, are such as belong to the 
age, and are important to our country in all its parts." His 
earnest recommendation of a geological survey elicited from 
Prof. Olmstead, a letter commending his views expressed in 
that regard, in which he said: " There is no State in the 
Union which would better reward the labor and expense of a 
geological survey than North Carolina." 

In 1849 he delivered the address before the literary 
societies at Chapel Hill. His subject was a cursory view of 
the objects of liberal education. This address stands out in 


wide contrast to those which have been customary on such 
occasions, and is solid, sterling, practical. It is a vindication 
of the University curriculum. 

Public honors have been coy to most men; it was the 
reverse in his case. They waited around him with perpetual 
solicitation. In 184.C, Mr. Mangum, one of the confidential 
advisers of the President, wrote to Mr. Graham that he 
might make his election between the Mission to Russia and 
the Mission to Spain. Subsequently the Mission to Spain 
was tendered to and declined by him. 

Upon the accession of Mr. Fillmore to the Presidency, a 
seat in the Cabinet was tendered to Mr. Graham. In the 
letter addressed to him by the President, informing him of 
his appointment, he said : " I trust that you will accept the 
office, and enter upon the discharge of its duties at the 
earliest day. I am sure that the appointment will be highly 
acceptable to the country, as I can assure you, your accept- 
ance will be gratifying to me," In a letter couched in proper 
terms, dated July 25, he communicated his acceptance. 

In a letter dated the 19th of February, 1851, Mr. Benton 
wrote as follows: "I have just read a second time, your 
report on the Coast Survey. I consider it one of the most 
perfect reports I ever read a model of a business report, and 
one which should carry conviction to every candid, inquiring 
mind. I deem it one of the largest reforms, both in an eco- 
nomical and administrative point of view, which the state of 
our affairs admits of." 

He resolved, being strongly supported by the President, to 
send an expedition to Japan and bring that empire within the 
pale and comity of civilized nations. The command was 
assigned to Commodore Perry. The event showed what 
statesmanlike sagacity was exercised in planning the expedi- 
tion and in the selection of its leader. Everything that was 
contemplated was accomplished. The success of that expedi- 
tion constitutes one of the principal claims of Mr. Fillmore's 
administration to the admiration of the country and of pos- 
terity. Its success constitutes, indeed, an era in the history 
of the world. Its results have been great and cannot but be 
enduring. It has placed our relations with Japan upon a just 


and Honorable basis. It has given a new direction to much 
of the commerce of the world pouring its fertilizing tide 
through the heart of the American continent. Its effects 
upon Japan are but beginning to be seen; yet already they 
exceed what would have been brought about in the ordinary 
course of affairs in a thousand years. No people have ever 
availed themselves of the light of a superior civilization as the 
Japanese have. In that light they have seen the unfitness 
of many of their old institutions and have abandoned them; 
they have seen the unfitness of their language for foreign 
intercourse, and are preparing to substitute the English lan- 
guage. The changes thus made are harbingers of progress 
which will justify the most lively anticipations for the future. 
The friends of humanity and religion, especially, hail the 
prospect with delight. They see in what has been already 
done, the prospect of an entire change in the institutions of 
that land. They hope, at no distant day, to see liberal insti- 
tutions introduced there. They hope to see a universal rec- 
ognition of popular rights, where the bonds of caste have been 
so inexorable; to see equal laws take the place of a despot's 
will, and to see the Christian religion again introduced, never 
more to be disturbed in its peaceful reign. 

Another expedition was sent out in 1851 under the direc- 
tion of the Navy Department. The object was the explora- 
tion of the valley of the Amazon in the interests of com- 
merce. The instructions to Lieutenant Herndon to whose 
charge the expedition was confided contained in the letter 
of Mr. Graham, of February 15th, were full and particular. 
They embraced the position of the country the navigability 
of its streams its capacities for trade and commerce and 
its future prospects. In February, 1854, the report was 
published by order of Congress. It contains the most ample 
information upon all the points embraced in the instructions. 
In the London Westminster Review of that year, it was 
noticed with just credit to the author, and due recognition 
of the enlightened policy which projected the expedition. 

A part of the triumph of the compromise of 1850 belongs 
to iSTorth Carolina. Her favorite statesman was then in the 
Cabinet, and shared in the counsels by which these results 


were brought about. During the progress of these measures 
he was in constant conference with their author, and to the 
opinion of none did their author pay greater deference. 

His labors as Secretary of the Navy were brought to a 
sudden termination. The Whig party met in convention on 
the 16th of June, 1852, and put in nomination for the Presi- 
dency General Scott, and for the Vice-Presidency Mr. Gra- 
ham. Mr. Graham's preference for the Presidency was Mr. 
Fillmore, and without a distinct declaration of principles, 
and an approval of the course of his administration, he would 
not have permitted his name to be placed on any other ticket, 
This declaration was made, and in terms as explicit as he 
could wish; with that declaration, it became a mere calcula- 
tion of chances which was the candidate most acceptable to 
the country. Under these circumstances he accepted the 
nomination. Immediately on his acceptance, with a view as 
he expressed it, " to relieve the administration of any possible 
criticism or embarrassment on his account in the approaching 
canvass," he tendered his resignation. The President " ap- 
preciating the high sense of delicacy and propriety ' : which 
prompted this act, accepted his resignation with expressions 
of " unfeigned regret." 

In Mr. Stephens' history of the United States, it is said 
that in accepting the nomination tendered him by the 
Whigs, General Scott " cautiously avoided endorsing that 
portion of the Whig platform which pledged the party to 
an acceptance of and acquiescence in the measures of 1850." 
If avoidance there was, it was because he deemed it unneces- 
sary to pledge his faith to measures with which he was so 
intimately identified. He was acting Secretary of War dur- 
ing the pendency of these measures. '' ISTo one," says Mr. 
Graham in a letter to a friend, " more deeply felt the im- 
portance of the crisis, or cooperated with us more efficiently 
in procuring the passage of the compromise measure, or 
rejoiced more heartily in the settlement thereby made." With 
a soldier's sentiment of honor, General Scott rested on his 
record, which was open to all the world. But the charge of 
unfaithfulness to those measures was made against him, and 
urged with fatal effect. And so it came to pass that the two 


candidates who had exerted all their abilities, and used all 
their influence, official and other, to secure the passage of the 
compromise measures, were beaten upon the charge alleged 
against one of them of unfaithfulness to those measures. 

After his retirement from the cabinet, and in the same 
vear 1852 he delivered the sixth lecture in the course, 


before the Historical Society of New York, in Metropolitan 
Hall, in the city of New York. " The attendance," we are 
told in the Evening Posi of that date, " was exceedingly 
numerous." Ever anxious to exalt his State, and set her 
before the world in her true glory, his subject was taken from 
the history of North Carolina. It was the British invasion 
of North Carolina in 1780 and 1781. 

It is known what scant justice has been done to our State 
by the early historians of the country. This injustice Mr. 
Graham, as far as a lecture would admit, undertook to re- 
dress. Though his subject confined him to the events of less 
than two years, and took up the story five years after the 
first blood had been shed at Lexington, and four years after 
the Declaration of Independence, he presents a rapid and 
graphic sketch of what was done in North Carolina down to 
the year 1780.. He depicts the advanced state of opinion in 
North Carolina before the war; he recounts the military 
expeditions sent out by her in support of the common cause; 
and shows that " from New York to Florida, inclusive, there 
were few battle-fields 011 which a portion of the troops en- 
gaged in defense of the liberties of the country were not 
hers." He then places before us in strong colors, the period 
just before Lord Cornwallis commenced his famous march 
that period so justly designated as the dark days of the 
Revolution; w r hen Georgia and South Carolina had been 
over-run and subjugated; when the army of the South had 
been nearly annihilated by the disastrous battle of Camden 
and the catastrophe of Fishing Creek. He relates the bold 
measures measures which call to mind those of Rome, at 
similar crises of peril with which the State of North Caro- 
lina prepared to meet the impending shock. He then enters 
upon a narrative of the different operations of the American 
and British armies under their respective commanders, 


Greene and Comwallis, and a finer narrative it would be 
difficult to point out, A bare recital of the incidents of that 
campaign would not want interest in the hands of the dryest 
historian, but in this narrative it is brought before us in 
vivid colors. By his brief but striking delineation of the 
principal actors; by his rapid touches in which the relative 
state of the Whig and Tory population of that day is brought 
to view; by his sketches of the scenery of the Piedmont 
country the theater of that campaign; by his notices of 
individual adventure; above all, by his masterly recital of 
the incidents of the retreat of General Greene and the pur- 
suit of Lord Cornwallis a retreat in which the hand of 
Providence seemed from time to time, so visibly interposed 
the grand procession of events passes before us with the 
interest of an acted drama. We experience a feeling of deep 
relief, when at length, the army of Greene is placed in safety. 
After taking breath, which we had held as it were, during 
the quick succession of events in that celebrated retreat, we 
retrace our steps and the interest culminates in the battle of 
Guilford. " The philosophy of history," says Mr. Benton in 
his Thirty Years' View, " has not yet laid hold of the battle 
of Guilford; its consequences and events. That battle made 
the capture of Yorktown. The events are told in history, 
the connections and dependence in none." The future his- 
torian will find the task done to his hand in this lecture. 
Its decisive character is there appreciated and set forth. 

The lecture closes with some reflections on the " Act of 
Pardon and Oblivion," passed by the Legislature, after the 
proclamation of peace, at its first session in 1783. " An act," 
says Mr. Graham, " of grace and magnanimity, worthy of the 
heroic, but Christian and forbearing spirit which had tri- 
umphed in the struggle just ended." The words have a 
peculiar and melancholy significance to us, who recollect 
how long after the war, he stood among us as an alien and a 
stranger, deprived of the commonest right of citizenship; 
and how by mistaken party spirit he was debarred the enjoy- 
ment of those senatorial honors, with which a grateful peo- 
ple would have cheered and crowned the evening of his 


This lecture will, I think, be regarded as the maturest of 
his literary efforts. It presents the events of the time of 
which it treats in new combinations, and sheds upon them 
new lights from original investigations. The style is always 
clear, forcible and harmonious. Classic ornament is intro- 
duced to an extent rare for him; for though he retained his 
classical learning to the end of his life, his sense of fitness 
led him to employ very sparingly what any one might be 
disposed to attribute to ostentation. Altogether it is the 
most valuable contribution yet made to the history of North 
Carolina at that era. It sets the State in a juster light than 
anything on record. It particularly commends itself to all 
who cherish in their hearts the sacred flame of State love and 
State pride; to all who hold in honor the renown of their 
ancestry; to all who would catch 

"Ennobling impulse from the past." 

Mr. Graham was again a member of the Legislature in 
1854-'55. The great question of that session was what was 
popularly known as " Free Suffrage." Its object was to 
abolish the property qualification for the Senate, and extend 
to every voter the same right of suffrage, whether for the 
Senate or the House. To this extension of suffrage per se he 
made no objection. He contended, however, that the con- 
stitution was based upon carefully adjusted compromises of 
conflicting interests, and that an amendment of the consti- 
tution confined to this single point as it must necessarily 
be if carried out by the Legislative method would disturb 
those compromises and thus destroy or greatly impair the 
harmony of that instrument. He, therefore, advocated the 
calling of a convention, that all the questions embraced in 
these compromises might be duly considered, and other parts 
re-adjusted to suit those which might be changed. These 
views were presented in a speech, memorable for its ability. 
In the former part he discusses the question at issue, and 
here will be found some of the finest examples of his skill as 
a dialectician; in the latter part he gave an exposition of 
the subject in all its constitutional bearings an exposition 
learned, lucid and conclusive. 


Tlio administration of Mr. Buchanan drew to its close 
amidst signs ominons for the future tranquillity of the coun- 
try. These signs awakened the fears of all who loved and 
valued the Union, and the trusted statesmen of the country 
made arrangements to meet for conference, and to give ex- 
pression to their views. The executive committee of the 
Constitutional Union party determined early in January, 
18 GO, to issue an address to the people of the United States 
upon the grave exigencies in national politics. A committee 
of seven, all men of the highest national distinction, among 
whom was Mr. Graham, was appointed to prepare the 
address. Mr. Crittenden notified him of his appointment in 
a letter of January 24th, and urged his attendance at the 
meeting of the committee. In his answer, Mr. Graham had 
left it doubtful whether the pressure of his engagements 
would permit his attendance, and requested that another 
might be appointed in his place. Accordingly Governor 
Morehead was appointed. But Mr. Crittenden wrote again, 
and to show the importance attached to his judgment and 
action, I subjoin an extract from his letter: " The crisis is 
important, and fills the public mind with expectation and 
anxiety. It is earnestly to be desired that the character of 
our convention should be conspicuous and equal to the occa- 
sion. We have good reason to feel assured of the attendance 
of many of the most eminent men of the country, and it is 
by the great weight of the moral and public character of its 
members that the convention must hope to obtain for its 
acts or counsels, whatever they may be, respect and influence 
with the people. We cannot do without your assistance and 
name. All the members of the committee, who were present 
when your letter was read, united in wishing me to write 
and to urge your coming to the convention. Your absence 
will be a positive weight against us." 

A number of eminent statesmen, among whom was Mr. 
Graham, met in Washington City, in February, to consult 
together upon the dangers which menaced the country. The 
result was the convention which nominated the Constitutional 
Union ticket for the Presidency, in behalf of which he can- 
vassed the State. Upon the election of Mr. Lincoln he made 


public addresses, and exhorted the people to yield due obe- 
dience to his office. 

But the tempest had long been gathering, and was now 
ready to burst. No human power could avert it. The people 
of South Carolina, and of the other States of the far South, 
had been educated in the doctrine of secession, and there 
were few in those States who did not hold that doctrine as 
an undeniable article of political faith. The time was come 
when this doctrine was to be tested. The election of Mr. 
Lincoln constituted the cause in the minds of the people of 
South Carolina. On the 20th of December, 1860, that State 
held a convention, and declared her connection with the 
United States dissolved, and proceeded to put herself in an 
attitude to make good her declaration. In this action she 
was followed by States to the south of her, and on similar 

The doctrine of secession met with little favor in North 
Carolina. As a right deduced from the Constitution, and to 
be exercised under its authority, it was believed by Mr. 
Graham, and the school of statesmen to which he belonged, 
to be without foundation. The Legislature of North Caro- 
lina directed the question of a convention to be submitted to 
the people. The question was discussed, in the light of 
recent events, by the press of the State, and numerous meet- 
ings of the people were held in every part. These meetings 
were addressed by our ablest men. Amongst these a mon- 
ster meeting was held at Salisbury, which was addressed by 
Governor Morehead, Mr. Badger and Mr. Graham, who, as 
well for the exalted positions they had held as for their com- 
manding abilities, were looked to for counsel in this emer- 
gency. The people at the polls pronounced with great unan- 
imity against a convention. 

But events were marching on with rapid strides. On the 
13th of April, 1861, Sumter surrendered to Confederate guns. 
On the 15th, Mr. Lincoln issued his call for 75,000 troops. 
This call was made without authority, and was the first of 
that series of public measures culminating in the unauthor- 
ized suspension of the " Habeas Corpus Act " on the 10th of 
May, under the shock of which the public liberties of the 
North for a time went down. 


By these events the aspect of things was wholly changed. 
The question of secession as a right, whether the election of 
Mr. Lincoln was a just cause for the exercise of that right or 
not, had drifted out of sight. War was inevitable. Virginia 
had followed the example of the Southern States, and North 
Carolina was now girdled with seceded States. All that was 
left her was a choice of sides. The language of Mr. Graham 
at this crisis was the language of all thoughtful men; nay, 
it was the language of the human heart. And looking back 
upon all that we have suffered and there are none, even in 
the Northern States, but say we have suffered enough if a 
similar conjuncture were to arise, the heart would speak out 
the same language again. Speaking the voice of the people 
of North Carolina, as he, from the high trusts confided to 
him in his past life, and from the confidence always reposed 
in him, was, more than any other, commissioned to do, in a 
public address at Hillsboiwigh, in March, 1861, he expressed 
himself as follows: 

" Ardent in their attachment to the Constitution and the 
Union, they had condemned separate State secession as rash 
and precipitate, and wanting in respect to the sister States 
of identical interests; and as long as there was hope of an 
adjustment of sectional differences, they were unwilling to 
part with the Government, and give success to the movement 
for its overthrow, which appeared on the part of some, at 
least, to be but the revelation of a long cherished design. 
But the President gives to the question new alternatives. 
These are, on the one hand, to join with him in a war of 
conquest, for it is nothing less, against our brethren of the 
seceding States or, on the other, resistance to and throwing 
off the obligations of the Federal Constitution. Of the two, 
we do not hesitate to accept the latter. Blood is thicker 
than water. However widely we have differed from, and 
freely criticised, the course taken by these States, they are 
much more closely united with us, by the ties of kindred, 
affection, and a peculiar interest, which is denounced and 
warred upon at the North, without reference to any locality 
in our own section, than to any of the Northern States." 

Under the influence of these counsels, so wisely and tern- 


perately expressed, a convention of the people of North Caro- 
lina was called. On the 20th of May, a day memorable in 
the annals of the State and of the world, the convention 
passed the ordinance of secession. 

For this ordinance the vote was unanimous. But though 
the vote indicated an entire unanimity among the members, 
it was unanimity only as to the end to be accomplished. 
The views of Mr. Graham, and the statesmen with whom he 
acted, had, in regard to secession as a constitutional remedy, 
undergone no change. To set forth their views, Mr. Badger 
offered a series of resolutions in the nature of a protestation 
an exclusion of a conclusion. These resolutions asserted 
the right of revolution, and based the action of the conven- 
tion on that ground; but the minds of men had been wrought 
to such a pitch of excitement that the distinction was un- 
heeded, and the resolutions failed. 

On the 20th of June the convention passed the ordinance 
by which the State of North Carolina became a member of 
the Confederacy. To this measure Mr. Graham offered a 
strong but fruitless opposition. In the perilous career upon 
which we were about to enter he was unwilling to surrender 
the sovereignty of the State into the hands of those whose 
rash counsels had, in the judgment of the people of North 
Carolina, precipitated the war. He wished the State to hold 
her destinies in her own hands, that she might act as ex- 
igencies might require. Those who realize the delusive 
views under which the government at Richmond acted dur- 
ing the last months of the war will see in this opinion another 
proof of his wise foresight. 

The progress of the war which now broke out with such 
fury demonstrated that there were here, as at the North, 
those who conceived that the public peril had merged the 
constitution and the laws. Early in the session " an ordi- 
nance to define and punish sedition and to prevent the dan- 
gers which may arise from persons disaffected to the State," 
was introduced. 

On the 7th of December Mr. Graham addressed the con- 
vention in opposition to this ordinance. The speech which 
he delivered on this occasion was, perhaps, the noblest effort 


of his life. It breathes the true spirit of American freedom. 
It is the product of a mind deeply imbued with the great 
principles of civil liberty, and which had devoutly meditated 
upon all those safeguards which the wisdom of successive 
generations had thrown around it. His wide acquaintance 
with history had made him familiar with every device by 
which liberty may be sapped and undermined; his exalted 
estimate of its value and dignity had developed this ac- 
quaintance into a special sense by which he could detect any 
design hostile to it, under any pretense or subterfuge, how- 
ever specious or skillful. 

From the beginning of the war the current of power set 
steadily from the Confederate States to the Confederate 
Government; and with each year of the war, the current 
flowed on with increasing tide. Within its just bounds, no 
man yielded a heartier allegiance to that government than 
Mr. Graham; but on the other hand, no man stood ready to 
oppose a firmer resistance when that government overstepped 
those bounds. The war had been begun and was then prose- 
cuted for the maintenance of great principles, and it was his 
fixed purpose that civil liberty should not, at the South as at 
the North, be engulfed in its progress. In the year 1862 a 
minister of the gospel a man of learning and of irreproach- 
able character was arrested in the county of Orange, under 
a military order, sent to Richmond, and cast into prison. He 
was not in the military service of the Confederate States, 
and therefore not amenable to military law. As a proceed- 
ing against a. citizen, such an arrest, without charge made 
on oath and without warrant, was in violation of all law; 
while his deportation beyond the limits of the State, for trial 
by military tribunal, was in contempt of the dignity and 
sovereignty of the State. Mr. Graham, being then Senator 
from Orange, introduced a resolution demanding a return 
of the prisoner to the State, which was passed at once. On 
introducing the resolution, he expressed the opinion that the 
proceeding was without the sanction of the Confederate 
Executive, or of the Secretary of War. The sequel proved 
this supposition to be correct. The prisoner was sent back 
with a disavowal of any knowledge of the proceeding on the 


part of the President or the Secretary, until the confinement 
of the prisoner in the military prison at Richmond. The Secre- 
tary frankly admitted the erroneous nature of the arrest 
and imprisonment, and disclaimed all intention to interfere 
with the rightful jurisdiction of the State. On the 22d of 
January, 1863 upon the incoming of the message with the 
accompanying documents, touching the case Mr. Graham 
paid a merited tribute to the enlightened comprehension of 
the relations existing between the Confederate Government 
and the States, evinced by these sentiments, and in the further 
remarks submitted by him, he took occasion to re-state the 
great principles of personal liberty daily more and more 
endangered in the course of the war and to impress them 
upon the public mind by apt comments upon the case to 
which the public attention was then so strongly directed. 
This was the first, and is believed to have been the last case, 
in which military power was used to override civil law. 

In December, 1863, Mr. Graham was elected to the Con- 
federate Senate by a majority of two-thirds of the Legislature. 
He took his seat in May, 1864. There was then need of the 
best counsel. The brilliant successes which had crowned 
our arms in the early years of the war, had been replaced by 
a succession of disasters. The battle of Gettysburg and the 
fall of Vicksburg had brought us apparently to the brink of 
ruin. As the year 1864 rolled on, the prospect became 
darker and darker, and at the end of the year the situation 
was to the last degree critical. Our territory had been cut 
in twain, and we were beleaguered by land and by sea. 
AVithin the area which acknowledged the Confederate Gov- 
ernment, there was great exhaustion of all kinds of military 
supplies, and a like exhaustion of all the elements for the 
support of human life. General Lee was only able to oppose 
the front of General Grant by extending his line until it was 
ready to snap from excessive tension. To strengthen his 
force from the white race was impossible; conscription there 
had reached its limit. General Sherman had swept through 
Georgia, and the broad track of desolation which he left 
behind him too truly told the story of our helplessness. It 
was known that each Confederate soldier was opposed by as 


many as five Federal soldiers; the former scantily fed, clothed 
and shod; the latter supplied with every comfort and many 
luxuries. (The odds were seven to one, says Stephens' His- 
tory of the United States.} It was plain there was no longer 
any hope of a successful prosecution of the war. In the midst 
of a dense gloom which shrouded the country on every side, 
a ray of light dawned in the proposed peace conference at 
Hampton Roads. Mr. Graham had endeavored to reach this 
form of intercourse from the commencement of the session. 
He was not without hope of a peaceful termination of hostili- 
ties; not so much from his estimate of the statesmanship of 
President Davis and his Cabinet, as from the extremity of the 
case which left no other alternative. The conference took 
place on the 3rd of February, 1865. The terms offered by 
Mr. Lincoln were, that the seceded States should return to 
the Union under the Constitution, in the existing state of 
affairs, with slavery as it was, but liable to be abolished by 
an amendment to the Constitution. He pledged himself to 
the utmost exercise of the executive powers in behalf of the 
South. The demand of the Commissioners was for indepen- 
dence. There could be no middle ground, and the confer- 
ence ended. Upon the return of the Commissioners, Mr. 
Davis and Mr. Benjamin made public speeches in Richmond, 
to fire the Southern heart anew; but the event proved how 
little sagacity they brought to the direction of affairs at that 
supreme hour. The speeches fell still-born. [French inter- 
vention in Mexico was the South.' s opportunity; Seward's ob- 
ject in the Hampton Roads Conference was to ascertain if 
Southern statesmanship knew how to play its advantage. 

One principle had actuated Mr. Graham from the begin- 
ning of the war; to sustain the Government in its struggles 
for independence until it should be demonstrated that our 
resources were inadequate for that end; and when that 
should be seen and acknowledged, to seek, if possible, a 
peaceful solution. How well he sustained it is matter of 
history. He sustained it in every way in which his talents 
and his means could be made available. He sustained it by 
his counsels in the State and in the Confederate Government. 


He sustained it by blood more precious in his eyes than his 
own all his sons, five in number, who had attained the age of 
eighteen, entered the army, and were in the army to the end. 

The inadequacy of our resources, particularly of the popu- 
lation from which our soldiers were drawn, had now been 
demonstrated. It was known to Congress; it was admitted 
by General Lee in his proposition to conscribe slaves; it was 
proclaimed from the steps of the Capitol by Mr. Benjamin: 
" Unless the slaves are armed," he said, " the cause is lost." 
Every expedient had been tried; the extremest measures had 
been put in operation; "by means of conscription, impress- 
ment laws, and the suspension of the habeas corpus, the whole 
population, and all the resources of the country, had long 
before been placed at the command of the President for pros- 
ecution of the war." All had been found unavailing. 

One resource, in the opinion of some, remained -the con- 
scription of negroes. A bill for this purpose was introduced 
into Congress. It was opposed by Mr. Graham upon the 
ground that it was unconstitutional, as well as inexpedient 
and dangerous. His sagacious mind saw that this was a 
measure, not of safety, but a measure born of the wild prompt- 
ings of despair. On the 21st of February it was indefinitely 
postponed, though it was subsequently taken up and passed. 

If ever negotiation was to be resorted to, it was clear the 
time had come. "We know but little of what passed in the 
Confederate Congress at that time. Its proceedings were had 
in secret session; nor is it now known whether the journals 
of the body escaped destruction. All that we know is de- 
rived from what was published by the members after the fall 
of the Confederate Government, Among these publications 
is a paper contributed by Mr. Oldham, then Senator from 
Texas, to DeBow's Review, in October, 1869, which gives us 
some information of the proceedings of the Senate at that 
time. A few days after the conference at Hampton Koads, 
he informs us, a committee consisting of Messrs. Orr, Gra- 
ham and Johnson, was appointed to confer with the Presi- 
dent, and ascertain what he proposed to do under the exist- 
ing condition of affairs. In a few days they made a verbal 
report through Mr. Graham. "Among other things," I 


quote Mr. Oldham's words, " they stated that they had in- 
quired of the President his views and opinions in regard to 
proposing to the United States to negotiate for peace upon 
the basis of the Confederacy returning to the Union, and 
that he had answered that he had no power to negotiate a 
treaty upon such a basis; that his authority to make treaties 
was derived from the Constitution, which he had sworn to 
support and that such a treaty would operate as an abroga- 
tion of the Constitution, and a dissolution of the govern- 
ment; that the States alone, each acting for itself, in its 
sovereign capacity, could make such a treaty. Mr. Graham 
said, lie gave notice that he would, in a few days, introduce 
a resolution in favor of opening negotiations with the United 
States upon the basis of a return to the Union by the States 
of the Confederacy; that he did not give the notice at the 
instance or under the instruction of the committee, but upon 
his own responsibility. The notice was received in such a 
manner that he never offered his resolution." 

I never saw the paper from which the foregoing quotation 
is made, and was a stranger to this passage of Mr. Graham's 
life until within the last forty days. I read it with a feel- 
ing of profound relief. I have ever regarded him from my 
earliest years, with the warmest admiration and the most 
affectionate respect; but his failure, as I thought, to take 
some action looking to peace after the Hampton Roads con- 
ference when the plainest dictates of humanity so clearly 
demanded it left upon my mind the painful impression 
that he had been wanting to himself in that, the most im- 
portant, crisis of his life. There is a deep-seated conviction 
that the blood which was shed after that conference might 
have been saved. That the waste of the fruits of past cen- 
turies of toil a waste which consigned so many of the 
present and future generations to want and misery might 
have been avoided. It is with gratitude I reflect that not a 
tittle of responsibility for this bloodshed and waste lay at 
his door. And when the inevitable hour came to him, I 
doubt not the thought that he had done what he could to 
arrest a war attended with such terrible and useless sacri- 
fice, was one of the sweetest reflections of his whole life. 


Congress adjourned about the 16th day of March. Im- 
pressed with the imminence of the emergency, Mr. Graham 
stopped but one day at home that day being the Sabbath 
and on Monday proceeded to Raleigh to confer with the 
Governor. The conference was long and earnest. Mr. Gra- 
ham laid before the Governor the views of the President, 
the state of the armies, and earnestly recommended that the 
Legislature should be convened. He sustained his advice 
by the opinion of General Lee, and that of many good and 
able men with whom he had been associated. He ended 
by telling him that Richmond would fall in less than thirty 
days, and that event would be followed probably by a rout 
or dispersion of General Lee's army for want of food, if for 
no other cause. The Governor was surprised by his state- 
ment of facts, and incredulous in some degree as to his con- 
clusions. He agreed to consider the subject, and convened 
the Council on that day week. Hearing nothing of their 
action, in a few days Mr. Graham visited Raleigh again. 
The Governor informed him that on the day appointed, a 
bare quorum of the Council attended, and being equally 
divided, he had not summoned the Legislature. He said 
that Mr. Gilmer, with whom Mr. Graham had advised him 
to consult, had suggested to him to solicit an interview with 
General Sherman on the subject of peace. Mr. Graham 
remarked that if such an interview were held, Mr. Davis 
should be apprised of it, To this the Governor at once 
assented. Mr. Graham suggested further that if that course 
were taken, he (the Governor) should be in a condition to 
a.ct independently of the President, and convene the Legis- 
lature. To this proposition the Governor manifested reluct- 
ance; but finally agreed to call the Council of State again. 
But while negotiation halted, the inarch of General Sher- 
man's army decided events. In a few days no resource was 
left but an unconditional surrender. With the part borne 
by Mr. Graham at that trying time, a gifted authoress of 
North Carolina has made the public already familiar in the 
captivating pages of her work, The Last Ninety Days of the 

There is no part of Mr. Graham's life in which the calm 


wisdom, for which he was so distinguished, shone more con- 
spicuously than in the closing months of the civil war. When 
independence was demonstrated to be hopeless, he sought 
peace; but even then, only in channels admitted to be in 
accordance with the great principles of our government. 

In his opinion, that peace ought to be sought by the State 
after the failure of the conference at Hampton Roads, he 
was sustained by our entire delegation in Congress, and a 
large proportion of the leading citizens of the State. Yet 
so anxious was he not only to avoid any appearance of con- 
flict among the Confederate States, but to conform to all 
that the most punctilious deference for the Confederate Gov- 
ernment might require, that he did not move in the matter 
until after a conference with the President, and then only in 
the track pointed out by him. The President disclaimed all 
power of making a treaty, which would abrogate the Gov- 
ernment, and declared that the " States alone, each acting in 
its sovereign capacity, could make such a treaty." In the 
line of action here indicated the State could not be put in a 
false position; nay, her honor would be put beyond all cavil. 
It was known that we had no power to arrest General Sher- 
man's march. General Johnston confronted him, and all felt 
convinced that whatever his great military genius could ac- 
complish would be done. But it was also known that his 
gallant army was outnumbered six to one. A surrender in 
a few days would be inevitable. Burning capitals, desolated 
homes, famine and destruction of life, followed Sherman's 
march. Was it not worth the effort to put a stop to such 
frightful calamities? What Mr. Graham urged was that the 
people might be allowed to determine their fate for them- 
selves. Such a course was in strict conformity to the funda- 
mental principles of our Government. A convention of seven 
Governors had precipitated the war when peace counsels 
seemed to be in the ascendant. Was not Mr. Graham justi- 
fied in the opinion that executive powers which had been so 
destructively exerted in the beginning, might be beneficently 
exerted in the end? 

In an address delivered by Governor Yance before the 
Southern Historical Society, at White Sulphur Springs, West 
Virginia, August 18th, 1875, occurs the following statement: 


" Soon after the failure of the Fortress Monroe or Hamp- 
ton Roads conference, I was visited by Governor Graham 
(whose death we so recently deplore) who was then a Sena- 
tor of the Confederate States. After giving all the particu- 
lars of that conference which had not appeared in the 
papers, and the prevailing impressions of congressional cir- 
cles, about Richmond, etc., he informed me that a number of 
leading gentlemen there, despairing of obtaining peace 
through Mr. Davis, and believing the end inevitable and 
not distant, had requested him to visit me and urge me, as 
Governor of North Carolina, to take steps for making sepa- 
rate peace with Mr. Lincoln, and thus inaugurate the con- 
clusion; that he agreed to lay their request before me with- 
out promising to add his personal advice thereto. I asked 
who those gentlemen were, and, with some reluctance, he 
gave me their names, chiefly Senators and Representatives 
in the Confederate Congress. I asked why these gentlemen 
did not begin negotiations in their own States with the 
enemy, and if they would come out in the papers with this 
request to me. He said they could not take the initiative, 
they were so surrounded at home, and so trammeled by 
pledges, etc., as to render it impossible ! I declined the prop- 
osition of course." 

It is with reluctance that I advert to this statement. Had 
it been given to the press with a sponsor less entitled to con- 
sideration, I should have been disposed to let it float with 
the tide. But it presents itself under imposing circum- 
stances; it proceeds from one who, at the time referred to, 
was at the head of the government in North Carolina; it is 
contained in an address made before a society whose object 
it is to preserve the memorials of that time. The statement 
thus passes into history. It will not be waived. It per- 
emptorily challenges attention. 

[Mr. McGehee here enters into a rather labored argument 
to show that Vance was mistaken; it would have been suffi- 
cient simply to have published Graham's letter to Swain, 
written shortly after the conversation, and therefore a better 
exponent of what actually took place. It appears that Gra- 


ham as Confederate Senator had far better means of knowing 
the real condition of the Confederacy than Vance had, and 
he, doubtless, as was his duty, gave him the whole truth. 
Even without the vindication of his letter, I should be very 
slow to believe that he ever advised Vance on his own respon- 
sibility to undertake separate negotiations with the enemy. 
For the consideration of a matter so delicate, serious, and dan- 
gerous, doubtless, he, as well as Vance, would wish the assem- 
bled wisdom of the State. And what he really advised, as 
his letter shows, was to call the Legislature together, so that, 
in secret session, upon full information, it might consider if 
the State and the several States of the Confederacy should 
as States make any propositions to the enemy. ED.] 

After the Hampton Roads conference he had no longer 
any hope of a peaceful solution through the action of Presi- 
dent Davis; from thenceforth he turned his thoughts to the 
accomplishment of the same end through the action of the 
States. The subject is often recurred to, but not an intima- 
tion can be found of any plan, except that of the States act- 
ing in conjunction. Very soon united action on the part of 
all became an impossibility; conquering armies had dismem- 
bered the Confederacy had left indeed but two States that 
could act in concert. But his plan still embraced these two. 
March 26th, he writes as follows to Governor Swain: "I 
went to Raleigh to have an interview with the Governor on 
the subject-matter referred to in your letter. The result 
was a convocation of the Council of State to assemble to- 
morrow. The Legislature of Virginia has taken a recess 
until the 29th instant, and I think it very important that 
that of North Carolina should be in session as early as pos- 
sible. The war is now nearly reduced to a contest between 
these two States and the United States !' : In his letter of 
the 8th of April, which contains, as I think has been shown, 
the true account of the interview between Mr. Graham and 
Governor Vance, Mr. Graham says: "I told him I should 

/ / 

attend the session of the General Assembly, and, if desired, 
would address them in secret session; that I had confidential 


conversations with a committee of the Virginia Legislature, 
which had taken a recess for ten days, and that it was impor- 
tant to act in concert with that body." 

The surrender left the State under the control of the Fed- 
eral generals and under the military law. According to 
the theory of the administration, all civil government had 
ceased; all the offices were vacant. The government, for a 
time, was such as a conquering army administers in a sub- 
jugated country. At length, to inaugurate a civil govern- 
ment the precedent for the admission of territories was par- 
tially adopted. A provisional Governor was appointed with 
power to call a convention. In execution of his powers the 
Governor made appointments to the vacant offices and issued a 
call for a convention. Mr. Graham was nominated for the 
convention; but it being announced by the executive, that 
persons unpardoned would not be allowed to take their seats, 
he withdrew from the canvass. 

A constitution the old constitution with some alterations 
was adopted. Mr. Graham opposed its ratification. From 
his action at this time many of his best friends dissented. 
They admitted with him that a convention called, not by 
the people, but by a power db extra and under limitations 
of suffrage unknown to the constitution, was an anomaly in 
American institutions. But certain changes were regarded 
as inevitable after the war, and, if the administration, then 
wielding supreme power over us, should rest satisfied with 
the changes thus made, it was conceived by them to be the 
wiser course to raise no question as to the manner in which 
the convention was called. But in Mr. Graham's view many 
of the ablest men in the State concurred, and the constitution 
was defeated. Certainly it seems more in accordance with 
the spirit of a great patriot to make continual claim, even if 
ineffectual, in behalf of the principles of government estab- 
lished by our fathers. Any mitigation which an abandon- 
ment of those principles might have obtained would have 
been but temporary; the principles themselves were for all 

The Reconstruction measures were now passed. The for- 
mer government was swept away. The whole power over 


the question of suffrage, that question which lies at the 
foundation of all representative government, and which, 
under the old constitution belonged to the States, save that 
Congress might pass uniform naturalization laws, was as- 
sumed and exercised by Congress. Suffrage was adjusted 
upon a new basis; all the black race was enfranchised, and a 
large portion of the white race was disfranchised. Under this 
adjustment, a new convention was called, and a new consti- 
tution alopted, the constitution under which we now live. 

These measures, so extreme in their nature, were regarded 
while they were yet in progress by a large part of our people 
with a feeling little short of consternation. The govern- 
ment seemed wholly changed; the constitution irrevocably 
wrenched, if not destroyed. A profound apathy fell upon 
the minds of the people. A vast number ceased to take any 
cognizance of public affairs. They seemed to regard them, 
as removed forever beyond their control. In this state of 
things a convention of the conservative party of ]STorth Caro- 
lina was called. It met 011 the 5th of February, 1868, in 
Tucker Hall, in the city of Raleigh, and was presided over 
by Mr. Graham, who made the principal speech of the occa- 

The effect of this speech cannot be estimated. It aroused 
the people from their despondency; it animated them to new 
efforts; it went further, it infused into them the spirit with 
which the speech itself was instinct. From that day the 
Conservative-Democratic party dates its existence in this State 
as a regularly organized party; within a short time thereafter 
it gained possession of the Legislature and has held it to the 
present time. 

The Convention of 1865 had directed that the Legislature 
should be convened. An election was accordingly held and 
the Legislature met in the winter of that year. Mr. Gra- 
ham was unanimously elected for the county of Orange, but, 
being unpardoned he did not offer to take his seat. It was 
the universal desire of the people that he should represent 
the State in the Senate of the United States, when restored 
to its old relations. It was felt that North Carolina had no 
one more competent to vindicate her action or represent her 


interests. It was felt that she had no one who, by his 
balanced judgment, his temperance of feeling, his urbane 
bearing, would do more to mitigate the asperities which had 
been provoked by civil strife. He was elected by a large 
majority. Upon his election he repaired to Washington and 
presented his credentials. They were laid upon the table. 
He presented to the Senate a manly and respectful memo- 
rial; but he was never permitted to take his seat. The spec- 
tacle presented by the exclusion from public affairs of a man 
of his antecedents, while so many who had an active agency in 
bringing on civil strife had been promoted to high station, 
arrested attention everywhere. Many of the most eminent 
men in the Northern States used their best efforts for the 
removal of his disabilities, without effect. Political perse- 
cution, set on foot by parties in his own State, pursued him 
until it was placed beyond all human probability that he 
should ever enjoy the honors for which the State ha,d des- 
tined him. When that had become a certainty, to wit, in 
1873, his disabilities were removed. What reflections arise, 
as we recur to this passage of his life! Mr. Graham had 
clung to the Constitution until the rising tide of secession 
had flowed around and completely insulated his State; to 
this ancient ark of our fathers he again clung when after the 
war the waves of political enthusiasm inundated the coun- 
try and the constitution. Yet he was left stranded, while 
many of those who had fanned the tempests of both found 
secure anchorage. But we look beyond to-day. The things 
seen are temporal in more senses than one. The impartial 
tribunal of posterity rises up before us. Then, when the 
actors of to-day are weighed in even scales; when the influ- 
ence of passion and prejudice is unknown, then will the con- 
sistent devotion to principle, by which his conduct was always 
actuated, receive its due meed of admiration and applause. 

In the year 1875 upon the -ith of February he presided 
over a meeting held in Charlotte to take steps for the proper 
celebration of the centennial of the Mecklenburg Declaration 
of Independence. Some writers of ability had seized upon 
that event, and in that spirit of historical skepticism so 
rife in our days, had undertaken, out of a few minor discrep- 


ancles, to deny the genuineness of the Declaration, or that 
any meeting was held on the 20th of May. Mr. Graham had 
been often solicited to place that event upon its proper basis. 
He had heard it often talked of at his father's fire-side; he 
knew all the traditions connected with it; he had known and 
talked with many of the subscribers of that declaration; he 
was well acquainted with public opinion regarding it, in that 
section where the event occurred, down to the date of its 
publication in 1820. For a long time motives of delicacy, 
growing out of his connection with some of the principal 
actors, restrained him. But at that time, all the actors had 
passed away; they could no longer be heard; and a just regard 
for their fame urged his acquiescence. He embodied his vin- 
dication in the form of an address which he delivered on this 
occasion. No fair synopsis of that address is possible; it is a 
solid, compact argument which would be greatly impaired by 
any attempt at abridgment, Let it suffice to say that the evi- 
dence is arrayed in the spirit of the philosophical historian, 
and with the skill of a lawyer. It will not put to silence the 
mere caviller; no amount of evidence will, on this or any 
other subject; but the candid inquirer will rise from its 
perusal with the conviction that few events in history rest 
upon a firmer foundation than the Mecklenburg Declaration 
of Independence.' 

Mr. Graham left behind many literary essays, but none 
which were prompted by mere desire for literary distinction. 
His efforts of this kind were all the result of passing events; 
all the fruit of hours snatched from an absorbing profession. 
Yet if collected together they would form a considerable vol- 
ume; and if we consider their contents they give a high idea 
of the intellect which could find its relaxation in such labors. 
The dominant feeling of his life was loyalty to the State and 
her institutions; hence the subjects usually selected by him 
were drawn from her history. 

Among these was a lecture delivered at Greensboro, in 
1860. The citizens of that section of country, of which 
Greensboro is the centre, contemplated the erection of a 
monument to commemorate the services of General Greene 
in the Revolutionary struggle. This lecture was delivered 


in aid of the enterprise, and embraced a life of Greene and a 
history of Revolutionary events in this State. A copy was 
solicited for publication, but from some cause it was never 
published. It remains in manuscript, full and entire, as if 
prepared for the press. Here may be mentioned two Memo- 
rial Addresses the one upon the life and character of Hon. 
George E. Badger, and the other of Hon. Thomas Kuffin. 

This record would be most imperfect did it fail to bring 
into the most prominent relief the services of Mr. Graham 
in his office of trustee of the University. He regarded the 
University as the best ornament of the State, and no one of 
all its sons nursed it with a more devoted or wiser care. He 
attended all its commencements, and was most active in watch- 
ing over all its interests. ]STo one labored with more zeal 
for its restoration to the control of the true sons of the State. 
For many years he was a member of the executive committee, 
and at the time of his death he was the chairman of that com- 
mittee. It was to him, finally, that Governor Swain, in the 
last years of his successful administration, looked for direction 
and support in all its trials and embarrassments. 

" It is not unusual for men of eminence," said Judge 
Story, " after having withdrawn from the bar to find it diffi- 
cult, if not impracticable, to resume their former rank in 
business." Mr. Graham experienced no such difficulty. 
Though often called from his profession to public station, at 
the first court at which he appeared after his term of office 
expired, he was retained in all important causes, and busi- 
ness flowed in upon him thenceforth as if he had never been 
absent. In common with all the people of the South, his 
resources had been somewhat impaired by the war, and 
when civil government was restored he resumed the prac- 
tice of his profession with more than his wonted ardor. He 
returned to all the courts of his former circuit, the business 
of which had greatly increased by the general settlement of 
all previous transactions which took place after the war. 
The business of the circuit and district courts both of which 
he regularly attended had been greatly enlarged by the 
new system of revenue laws and other changes introduced 
by the war, but, above all, by the bankrupt laws then re- 



eently enacted. These with appeals to the Supreme Court 
of the State, and appeals to the Supreme Court of the United 
States, increased his labors, protracted his absences from 
home, and left him few intervals for repose. It was felt by 
his friends that he was overtaxing his strength by these 
great exertions, but there was no abatement of his energies 
until about a year before his death. Symptoms then ap- 
peared which inspired deep apprehensions. It seemed but 
too certain that disease had fixed itself upon some of the 
great organs of life. He now gave up attendance upon 
courts, but still watched over the progress of his causes, and 
labored in the preparation of briefs the causes themselves 
being argued by his son, Maj. Graham. He was preemi- 
nently a worker and he continued to work to the end. At 
length the symptoms became more distressing, and he repaired 
to Philadelphia to consult the eminent physicians of that city. 
The result confirmed the opinion before entertained that his 
malady was disease of the heart. Upon his return home he 
continued his labors in his office. It was only under physical 
exertion that his malady gave him trouble; when in repose 
he was capable of as great mental efforts as ever. 

At this period of comparative inaction that fortunate des- 
tiny which presided over his life was constant to him still. 
The pain, which was incident to his malady, was only felt 
at intervals, and then was not severe. Apart from this, 
there was every possible compensation. Besides the depart- 
ment of professional labor still left to him, he had the 
boundless resources of literature, ancient and modem, which 
in the busiest periods of his life he had always cultivated 
and justly prized. Every day, moreover, brought to him in 
the visits of friends, or through the mails, in newspapers and 
letters, some new testimonial of esteem and regard, public or 
private. But above any and all of these, he could now enjoy 
without interruption those pleasures, in which, amidst his 
most brilliant successes, he ever found his chief happiness, the 
pleasures of home and its sweet endearments. 

.Mr. Graham had been nominated by acclamation by the 
people of Orange for the constitutional convention which sat 
in September, IS 75, but the state of his health rendered it 


impossible for him to undergo the labors of the canvass. This 
was not needed on his own account, but hi- ab-ence from Tin- 
hustings was regretted on account of the convention cause, 
lie published, however, a strong address to hi- r-on-tituents; 
which was widely circulated, and had an important influence 
on the result. 

A meeting of the commissioners to determine the boundary 
between Virginia and Maryland had been arranged to take 
place at Saratoga Springs, in the State of \e\\- York, in 
the month of August, 1875. Thither Mr. Graham accord- 
ingly went, accompanied by Mr-. Graham and his young- 
est son. For many days he appeared to be in his usual 
health; but a great change was at. hand. After an even- 
ing spent with his friends, whose society he enjoyed with 
more than his wonted zest, he retired a little bevond his 


accustomed hour. Soon after the symptoms of his dis- 
ease recurred in aggravated form. Physicians were sum- 
moned who ministered promptly, but ineffectually. Mean- 
time the news of his situation spread, and messages if inquiry 
and offers of personal services testified to the general and 
deep concern. But all that science and the most affectionate 
solicitude could suggest proved unavailing. He expired at 
6 o'clock on the morning of Wednesday, the llth of August, 

It had long been believed, by those who knew him best, 
that Mr. Graham was at heart a Christian. It is with inex- 
pressible gratification, I am able to add, that when approached 
on this subject during the last days of his life, he freely ex- 
pressed his hope of salvation through our crucified Redeemer. 

The intelligence of his death was transmitted by telegraph 
to every part of the country. All the great journals re- 
sponded with leading articles expressive of the national be- 
reavement. Numerous meetings were held meetings of the 
bar, meetings of citizens, meetings of political opponents, for 
political enemies he had none to give their estimate of the 
illustrious deceased, and to speak their sense of his loss. The 
States of Virginia and Maryland, with that high sense of deli- 
cacy which marks all their public acts, took care that the 
remains of one who had stood in such honored relations to 


each, should be conveyed with due honor across their 
bounds. At the borders of our State they were received by a 
committee appointed by the bar of Raleigh, by a committee 
appointed by the mayor and common council of that city, and 
by a committee from Hillsborough, and were conveyed by 
special train to Raleigh. There they were received by ap- 
pointed committees by the Raleigh Light Infantry, by the 
Raleigh Light Artillery (of both of which companies he was 
an honorary member), by the United States troops from Camp 
Russell, and accompanied by a great concourse of the citizens, 
conveyed to the capitol. There the remains were deposited 
in the rotunda, which was draped in mourning for the occa- 
sion. Late in the afternoon of the same day they were con- 
veyed with similar ceremonies to the central station. From 
thence, attended by the Raleigh companies, and by special 
guards of honor, appointed by cities and towns of the State, 
and by the family of the deceased, they were conveyed by 
special train to the station at Hillsborough. From thence 
they were escorted, with the addition of the whole population 
of the town, to his mansion, where they lay in state till the 
noon of Sunday, the 15th. At that hour they were con- 
veyed to the Presbyterian Church, and, after appropriate 
funeral services, were interred with solemn ceremony, amid 
an immense concourse, gathered from many counties, in the 
graveyard of that church. 

The place which will be awarded him in the rank of ora- 
tors will not be the highest. - Indeed at oratorical effects, 
purely as such) he never aimed. There is no doubt but that 
he might have employed the resources of oratory, other than 
the very highest, to a much greater extent than he did. All 
who have heard him in capital trials, and on other occasions 
when great interests were at stake, were persuaded that he 
possessed reserved resources of this kind to which he did not 
give play, and which he could have called into requisition 
at will. That he refrained was matter of deliberate judg- 
ment. He preferred to address himself to the understand- 
ing. He relied wholly upon argument, disdaining the ad- 
juncts of mere rhetoric. He knew that the triumphs of rea- 
son are more durable than those which are the offspring of 


excited feeling. Reaction and change follow the latter; the 
former leave full, permanent conviction. 

As a parliamentary speaker and as an advocate he stood 
in the first rank. His style was that which finds so much 
favor among eminent English statesmen, that style in which 
the results of thought and research are given with the warmth 
and ease of animated and unpremeditated conversation. 

In addition to his high intellectual endowments, nature 
had to him been profuse in external gifts. In person he was 
the ideal of the patrician. His features, regular and classic 
in their outline, would have satisfied a sculptor. The habitual 
expression of his face was one of blended thought, refinement 
and quiet will. His form was noble and commanding; cast, 
indeed, in nature's finest mould. These advantages were set 
off by a dress always scrupulously neat, and sufficiently con- 
formed to the prevailing mode to escape observation. The 
advantages, thus slightly touched upon, were singularly cal- 
culated to impress favorably the mind of any audience. If 
we add that he appeared before every audience with the 
prestige of a character, which calumny itself would own to be 
without a blemish, the causes of his uniform success are easy 
to discern. 

He possessed in many respects the temperament of a great 
commander. As difficulties thickened around him his cour- 
age seemed to rise, and his resources to develop. No man 
ever fought a losing cause with more courage and constancy. 
When in important cases the tide of testimony unexpectedly 
turned and flowed dead against him there was nothing in 
his look or manner that betrayed the change. His attention 
would be redoubled, but in all else there was so much of calm 
composure that lookers-on, inattentive to the evidence, have 
left the court house under the impression that he would gain 
the cause. He preserved, under all circumstances in the trial 
of causes, the lofty tenor of his bearing. He was never be- 
trayed into an altercation with witnesses. It may be that 
awe of his character, and a consciousness of his practiced 
sagacity and penetration constrained witnesses, when in his 
hands, to an unwonted utterance of the truth. This impres- 
sion may have been assisted, and probably was, by the fairness 


and integrity observable in his whole bearing. But whatever 
the cause, it is certain he never resorted to boisterous tones or 
a browbeating manner. Equally removed was his manner 
from all the arts of cajolery. In his examination of the most 
refractory witness his mien was calm, his look observant and 
penetrating, his voice never or but slightly raised above its 
ordinary tone. In such a contest, the contest between acute, 
disciplined reason, and cunning or obstinate knavery, the vic- 
tory was always on the side of the former. 

In his moral constitution he was complete on every side. 
All his conduct in life was regulated not only by the highest 
sense of honor, but by the most scrupulous sense of duty. This 
supreme sense of duty in everything that he did, whether 
great or small, was his distinguishing characteristic. From 
his cradle to his grave not a shadow of a shade ever rested 
upon him. Esteeming a stainless character as the highest of 
all earthly possessions, he exercised the most scrupulous cau- 
tion in his judgment of others. Few men were more often 
in the public arena. He took part in all the political can- 
vasses of his time; in many of which partisan feeling was in- 
flamed to the highest pitch. Yet he never assailed the mo- 
tives of his opponent and never left any feeling of personal 
injury rankling in his bosom. He always contended for prin- 
ciple, and disdained to use any argument which reason would 
not sanction. 

In debate he was a model of candor, and whoever might 
be his opponent he would always accept Mr. Graham's state- 
ment of his position. In all his intellectual conflicts, whether 
at the bar, on the hustings or in the Senate, under no provo- 
cation was he ever excited to an unseemly exhibition of tem- 
per. " Although," said a gentleman of high distinction, who 
knew him long and well (Hon. S. F. Phillips), " I have been 
present at the bar, and upon other public occasions when he 
must have been greatly tried, I have never seen his coun- 
tenance degraded by an expression of passion. His look may 
at times have been stern and high, but at all times it could 
with advantage have been committed to marble or canvas." 

It was the opinion of that eminent lawyer, Archibald 
Henderson, that public men should mingle much with the 


people that there is to be found the true school of common 
sense. Either because he held the same opinion, but more 
probably from inclination, his intercourse with the people 
was constant and cordial. When in attendance on his courts 
it was his custom when the day was fine to repair, after the 
adjournment of court, to the portico of his hotel, or the lawn 
in front of it, and sit for an hour or two. This was often 
his custom after the evening meal, usually served in his 
circuit at hours primitively early. Here he became the 
centre of a group of citizens all of whom he received with 
courtesy. The talk on such occasions was free and general; 
and, whatever the topic, he listened to their views with atten- 
tion, and in turn frankly gave his own. Thus his information 
in regard to all matters of general interest was minute and 
particular. It was thus, too, that he became informed as to 
the current opinion in regard to public men and public mea- 
sures. This intimate knowledge of the people was one of the 
great sources of his strength ; it rendered his judgment of the 
probable fate of State and national questions of great value. 
His judgment upon such matters, in the counties in which his 
circuit lay, was almost infallible. 

In his social relations Mr. Graham was one of the most 
attractive of men. Few had so wide a circle of friends, or 
friends so attached. His manner to all men was urbane; to 
his friends cordial and sincere. There was, except to a very 
few, and at times even to them, a shade of reserve in his 
manners; but there was nothing of pride; nothing expressive 
of conscious superiority. There was great dignity, tempered 
by unfailing courtesy. Perhaps this tinge of reserve made 
his subsequent unbending the more agreeable. In his social 
hours, in the long winter evenings at court, with the circle 
gathered around the blazing hearth it is as he was then 
seen that his friends love best to recall him. For many years 
there met together at one of his courts a number of gentlemen 
of high intellectual gifts and attainments. These were Hon. 
Robert Gilliam, Hon. Abram W. Yenable, the present Judge 
of the Seventh Circuit, and others less known. With such 
men there was no need that any limitations should be imposed 
on the conversation. Except in the field of exact science they 


were very much at home in all. The conversation ranged 
wide, law, cases in court, history, biography, politics -largely 
interspersed with anecdotes formed the topics. 

The moral dignity of man never received a higher illus- 
tration than in the life before us. We admire the pure 
patriot in whose thoughts the State her weal and her glory- 
was ever uppermost; the learned jurist who, from his ample 
stores informed, moulded the laws of his own common- 
wealth; the eloquent advocate who stood always ready to 
redress the wrong, whether of the individual or the community 
at large; the wise statesman who swayed the destinies of his 
State more than any of his generation. But we render the 
unfeigned homage of the heart to him, who by the majesty 
of his moral nature, passed pure and unsullied through the 
wide circle of trials and conflicts embraced in his life; and 
who, in his death, has left a fame that will be an incentive 
and a standard to the generous youth of North Carolina 
through all the ages that are to come. 

The foregoing sketch is the main body of a memorial ad- 
dress on the " Life and Character of Governor Graham," 
delivered in Raleigh before the bench and bar of the Supreme 
Court, June 8, 1876. 

Much of it has been omitted; for, while it was a labor of 
love (and there is much labor in it), it is too long for the 
scope of this work. If Mr. McGehee's power of condensation 
had been equal to his zeal and to his admiration and knowl- 
edge of Governor Graham's life and work this memorial 
would have been monumental. 

As it stands now in its original form, or even as abridged in 
this book, in spite of some just criticisms which could be 
made against its style and method, it is an example of industry 
to those who seek to collect and preserve the facts which illus- 
trate the lives of distinguished North Carolinians. 

Who now, after the lapse of twenty years, could and would 


write this life? Who has done a similar service in respect to 
the lives of Mangum, Pearson, and others perhaps equally 
worthy ? 

Mr. McGehee's sketch is, however, rather a panegyric. No 
great man needs to be bolstered up with compliments, and 
praise cannot preserve mediocrity from oblivion. 

Nothing better illustrates the defects of Southern education 
than the glittering generalities with which we would white- 
wash our distinguished dead as if they needed it or as if 
flattery could " soothe the dull, cold ear of death." We must 
show, rather than say, our great men are great, and for this 
purpose works are more effectual than words. By their fruits 
ye shall know them. 



A great lawyer, a cherished and distinguished citizen hav- 
ing fallen in our midst, in obedience to an honored custom, we 
turn aside from the ordinary pursuits and ambitions to pay 
this sad tribute to our illustrious brother. 

Bartholomew Figures Moore having passed the age allotted 
to man by the Psalmist, in the midst of his friends and kindred, 
departed this life in the city of Raleigh, November 27, A. D. 
1878. He was the son of a Revolutionary soldier, and born 
at the family residence near Fishing Creek in Halifax county, 
January 29, 1801. 

Ha.ving prepared himself for college, he entered the Uni- 
versity of the State in 1818, and in 1820 graduated with 
honor in a class of recognized ability. 

Leaving the University, Mr. Moore read law with Hon. 
Thomas IT. Mann, an able and distinguished lawyer of Nash 
county. After obtaining his license he entered upon the 
practice of his profession at the then nourishing village of 
Nashville, the county seat. His success for some years was 
not by any means flattering, yet the first five hundred dollars 
he received from his professional services he expended in trav- 
eling and familiarizing himself with his country. 

In December, 1828, he married Louisa, a daughter of 
George Boddie, Esq., of Nash county, who lived only until 
the 4th of November, 1829. In April, 1835, he married 
Lucy W., likewise a daughter of George Boddie, who, having 
witnessed and shared his toils and triumphs, survives him, 
blessed with a large and estimable family. 

He returned, in 1835, to Halifax, his native county, and 
while pursuing his profession, was elected successively to the 
House of Commons from 1836 to 1844, with the exception of 
1838, when he was defeated in consequence of having voted 
to give State aid to the Wilmington and Weldon Railroad 



Company, of which we was a warm friend and an able ad- 

He was appointed Attorney-General of the State in 1848, 
and, npon the convening of the General Assembly in Decem- 
ber, elected to the same position. This office he continued to 
hold and fill with great acceptability until he resigned it in 
consequence of being appointed a commissioner to revise the 
statute law of the State. To him was assigned the principal 
labor of arranging the matter and superintending the publi- 
cation of the Revised Code. 

While ample success crowned his professional career in Hal- 
ifax county, yet in 1848 he removed to Raleigh, where he 
resided till the time of his death. Bringing with him his well- 
established reputation for research and ability, he continued to 
command an extended and lucrative practice in this and other 
parts of the State. 

Mr. Moore early secured a high reputation as an able and 
profound lawyer by an elaborate brief in the celebrated case 
of the State vs. Will, a slave (1 Devereux and Battle's Law}. 
It was a case that awakened a general and profound interest 
throughout the country and settled the true relations be- 
tween master and slave in our State. It recognized the right 
of the slave to defend himself against the assaults of his 
master in the preservation of his own life. It is reserved to 
but few of the profession to so impress their views upon the 
courts, in advance of public opinion, and to prepare so ad- 
mirable a collocation of the law and to establish so durable a 
reputation upon any one case. 

Mr. Moore was a close and painstaking student; reluctant to 
appear in any case without careful preparation; yet when he 
entered the combat, the rich and fertile resources of his well- 
stored mind clearly manifested that nothing rusted in his 
intellectual armory. 

His mind was logical, his manner forcible, his ideas, with- 
out undue ornamentation, were clothed in strong and graphic 
language. He seized at once the strong points of his case, 
and pressed them with skill and sagacity. Possessed of a 
strong mind and robust constitution, he was a fine exemplifica- 
tion of the mens sana in corpore sano. 


In politics he was a Whig, and admired a strong and stable 
government; an ardent lover of civil liberty, he watched with 
jealousy all legislation tending to encroach upon the guaran- 
teed rights of the citizen. 

A bold and avowed Union man, while the States were 
engaged in an unremitting and unrelenting civil war, his high 
character and recognized integrity secured him, even amidst 
the clash of arms, a respectful hearing, for it was known that 
he sympathized with his own people in their unequal conflict, 
and that often his hasty expressions were the result of deep 
convictions. Recognized as a pronounced and outspoken 
Unionist, it was but natural that he should be sought for and 
consulted by the President of the United States at the ter- 
mination of the war. 

His respect, however, for the constitutional limitations of 
the General Government compelled him to oppose the whole 
reconstruction policy, for he was incapable of yielding to the 
intrigues of the politician or the subservient traffic of a mere 

He was a leading member of the State convention called by 
the President, and ably advocated the adoption of all such 
measures as were proclaimed as indispensably necessary to a 
rehabilitation of the State, believing that wise statesmanship 
required an early submission to the demands of the General 

Reared in a conservative school of politics, and devotedly 
attached to his State and the high character of her judiciary, 
he ever looked with distrust upon the election of judges for 
short terms and by popular ballot as an alarming inroad. 

As a citizen, to the poor he was liberal and unostentatious, 
to his equals, frank and manly, to all, kind and just. 

That he had his faults, none will deny; he was impatient 
of contradiction, at times impetuous and irascible, yet these 
were but the natural emotions of an ardent and sanguine tem- 
perament, and while they tended to obscure, did not infect 
those true and excellent qualities which lay beneath the sur- 

He lived literally within the Augustan age of the profes- 
sion in our State. With a Gaston, Daniel, and Ruffin on the 


bench, the logical and versatile Badger, the strong and rugged 
Saimders, the able, astute Haywood and their illustrious com- 
peers as rivals at the bar, it is praise enough to say that he 
was ever equal to the emergency of any occasion. 

He was the wisest man I ever knew. At his decease and 
almost for his whole life, though filling only a private station, 
he had come to be recognized as a distinct and efficient moral 
power in regulating the social and political welfare of the 
State. He lived almost to the utmost limit of the span 
allotted by the Psalmist to man. Satisfied with only some 
very brief honorable rest in extreme old age, he spent all 
these years of his life in active, unremitting, assiduous labor., 
and finished his career without a taint upon his honor or a 
stain upon his reputation. His life covers many epochs in our 
State and national history, and among them, the most solemn 
and imperative political crisis through which State and nation 
have yet passed. For forty years he was a leader in the legal 
profession, and for perhaps a quarter of a century he was the 
very head of the bar facile princeps. Of all the gentlemen 
who composed the Ealeigh bar, when I was first admitted to 
practice, he was the last relict Badger, the two Busbees, 
Husted, Jones, Manly, Mariott, Miller, Rogers, Saimders, 
Sheppard, are all gone, sunk down down with the tumult 
they made! 

His thorough and life-long devotion to the enforcement of 
the laws preserving civil liberty, distinguished him among his 
fellows. ]STo circumstances of danger no allurements of 
ambition no fear of consequences no regard for himself, 
his family, his fortune, his future no specious arguments of 
expediency ever tempted him upon any occasion to refrain 
from boldly and perseveringly, in public and in private, urg- 
ing and enforcing his objections, whenever, wherever and in 
whatsoever form the liberty of the humblest citizen was 
threatened or invaded. 

For solid wisdom, penetrating foresight, invariable sagacity, 
he had no peer, and he has left behind none like him. He 
had nothing but observation, reason and a sense of duty to 
guide him, and these he obeyed under trials and temptations 
which it is to be hoped, for the sake of public virtue, are not 


to become common. In the presence of such manly, unselfish, 
heroic virtue, I uncover my head and put the shoes .from off 
my feet and lift up my heart to God in thankfulness for the 
example of this His faithful soldier and servant. According 
to his lights he did his duty a hard and painful duty it was, 
and the event has proved that his lights were as true as the 
sun in heaven. Every man is to be judged, so far as human 
judgment is to be passed upon him at all, by the tenor of the 
motives which actuated him, and to which the main current 
of his life responded. Judged by this standard his course 
with reference to the late social war must command admira- 
tion even of those who most earnestly condemned his action. 

I do not think Mr. Moore had genius, but his talents were 
great, his will imperative, his industry unbounded, and his 
habit of methodical and exhaustive analysis unequaled. He 
had no great oratorical gifts, except to those cultivated minds 
to which lucidity of arrangement and logical presentation of 
a subject are most pleasing and convincing. Even his voice 
when addressing an audience was harsh and unmusical. But 
he was the most successful lawyer we had, and I remember 
watching his mode of managing a cause with admiration and 
wonder, and studying it, as the most perfect model within 
my reach. In this respect his professional skill and acumen 
were, and to the very end continued to be, unapproachable. 

On a more favorable occasion it is to be hoped that some 
person well qualified for the task will lay before the profes- 
sion a full, critical and careful history and examination of 
some of the numerous great causes in which he appeared and 
his arguments therein; in one or the other of which, as I 
verily believe, is exhibited every variety of intellectual excel- 
lence demanded for the elucidation and application of law 
in the courts of justice. His briefs in the State vs. Will, 
Moye vs. May, and Walton vs. Gatling are all models: each 
one has its distinct method and discloses a special excellence. 

During the period I knew him, which extended through a 
quarter of a century, I never knew him to make a mistake 
of judgment. I do not mean that he never, upon some pass- 
ing matter, erred in act or opinion, but in great crises when 
the waters of revolution were out and the files of political 


experience furnished no precedent for guidance when all 
was on the hazard and he was called upon to use his wisdom in 
suggesting the best means applicable to the production of the 
best results, in predicting what results must follow from one 
course of action or another he was almost infallible- his 
predictions were prophecies. His bare opinions had come to 
have in this community the weight of actual knowledge. 
" He was a man, take him for all in all, I shall not look upon 
his like again." 

And in this connection let me say one word of a single epi- 
sode in Mr. Moore's career, with which I have heard some 
thoughtless persons find fault, I speak of his well known hos- 
tility to secession and the Confederate cause. Surely those who 
impute blame to him have not considered his motives, his opin- 
ions, his conduct. Mr. Moore was by conviction a Federalist, 
both in politics and in the construction which, as a lawyer, he 
gave to the Constitution of the United States; lie denied 
always, from first to last, the right of secession ; he thought the 
only safety for his people, for the State, for the nation, for 
civil liberty even, was in the perpetuation of the Union; with 
his far-seeing intellect he knew and foretold the fierce strug- 
gle to come, the bloodshed, the evil passions, the crime, the 
suffering which would accompany it, its failure, the dreadful 
consequences, the perils to all civil liberty and all rights of 
person and property which would result, many of which are 
not yet past. He made no secret of his opinions and his feel- 
ings at any time he was constant, in season and out of sea- 
son, in proclaiming them from the housetops, and in endeavor- 
ing to convert others to his views; to him the result the 
failure was always present in all its shocking and useless 
reality; and when the good opinion of his neighbors and 
friends (which he cherished as much as any man) was at stake, 
and his liberty, his future, his reputation, his very life, was on 
the hazard of a die- he yet stood steadfast as the Northern 
Star " Of whose true, fixed and resting quality there is no 
fellow in the firmament," 

Which of his faultfinders would have done as much under 
like circumstances? "Which one of us, I pray you, oh! hot- 
blooded secessionists, Hebrew of the Hebrews, if we had had 


his prevision, would have obeyed the dictates of our convic- 
tions and have exhibited such courageous virtue? 

But, in my opinion, the Revised Code is the greatest mon- 
ument he has left of the excellent and rare endowments of his 
mind; especially does it illustrate his profound knowledge of 
the written law of North Carolina at the date of its preparation. 
Lord Coke said of Littleton's treatise on tenures, " I affirm, 
and take upon me to maintain, against all opposites whatso- 
ever, that it is a work of as absolute perfection in its kind, and 
as free from error, as any book that I have ever known to be 
written of any human learning "; and I venture to adopt his 
language as applicable to the Revised Code. Its great and 
surpassing excellence can only be fully perceived and appre- 
ciated by those who have studied it, and have long had occa- 
sion to apply it practically. They will have seen that it is 
far more than a bare compilation of statutes far more than 
a codification of existing acts of Assembly, but that it has 
amended and perfected every such act in those particulars in 
which it has been proved by experience to be imperfect. It 
indicates a profound and exact knowledge of every principle 
which had been established, and every decision which had 
then been made by our courts, and an exhaustive, methodical 
analysis of the fundamental principles of the common law. 

Having carefully arranged his affairs, and provided for the 
wife and children whom he loved, and disposed of his great 
estate, he retired to his chamber and folded his mantle about 
him to die as he had lived, with decency. Weary and worn, per- 
haps disappointed, certainly disenchanted, disillusioned of all 
the bright dreams of his green manhood let us follow him 
there: be ye sure that sacred chamber was not haunted by 
memories of evil deeds, of sins that had sorrowfully come 
home at nightfall with hopes that had borne no fruit, 
with resolves abandoned almost as soon as formed. His 
strength failed him more and more; painlessly he sinks into 
the lethargy of approaching death, while his children gather 
around his couch. What are the last feeble syllables which 
they hear from the dying lips of this gray-haired veteran 
" I am tired now. I am going to my mother in Heaven." 

Perhaps he knew that there were some heavy items under- 


scored against him, but lie also knew that the mercy of God 
can even outdo the hope He gives us for token and keepsake. 
A greater and a grander end, after a life of mark and power, 
might, to his early aspirations and self-conscious strength, have 
seemed the bourne intended. If it had befallen him as but 
for himself it would have done to appear more actively in 
official life, where men are moved by ambition and bold deci- 
sion, his name would have been more famous in history but 
perhaps also better known to the devil. As it was, he lay 
there dying, and was well content. The turbulence of his 
life was past, the torrent and the eddy, the attempt at fore- 
reaching upon his age, and the sense of impossibility, the 
strain of his mental muscles to stir the " great dead trunks 
of orthodoxy' 1 and then, the self-doubt, the chill, the de- 
pression which, follow such attempts, as surely as ague tracks 
the pioneer thank God, all this was over now- the violence 
gone and the dark despair. Of all the good and evil things 
which he had known and felt, but two yet dwelt in the feeble 
heart only two still showed their presence in his dying eyes 
and words. Each of these two were good if two indeed 
they were faith in the Heavenly Father, and love of the 
earthly children. 

" When the young are stricken down, and their roses nipped 
in an hour by the destroying blight, even the stranger can 
sympathize, who counts the scant years on the gravestone, or 
reads the notice in the newspaper corner. The contrast forces 
itself upon you. A fair young creature, bright and blooming- 
yesterday, distributing smiles, levying homage, inspiring de- 
sire, conscious of her power to charm, and gay with the natural 
enjoyment of her conquests w y ho, in his walk through the 
world has not looked on many such a one; and, at the notion 
of her sudden call away from beauty, triumph, pleasure, her 
helpless outcries during her short pain, her vain pleas for a 
little respite, her sentence and its execution, has not felt a 
shock of pity? AY hen. the days of a long life come to their 
close, and a white head sinks to rise no more, we bow our own 
with respect as the mourning train passes, and salute the 
heraldry and devices of yonder pomp, as symbols of age, wis- 
dom, deserved respect, merited honor long experience of 



suffering and action. The wealth he has achieved is the har- 
vest he has sowed; the title on his hearse, fruits of the field he 
bravely and laboriously wrought in. Around his grave are 
unseen troops of mourners waiting; many and many a poor 
pensioner trooping to the place; many weeping charities; many 
kind actions; many dear friends beloved and deplored, rising 
up at the toll of that bell to follow the honored hearse; dead 
parents waiting above, and calling ' come son/ lost children, 
heaven's foundlings, hovering around like cherubim, and whis- 
pering ' welcome, father.' : 

" Here lies one who reposes after a long feast, where much 
love has been; here slumbers, in patience and peace, a veteran, 
with all his wounds in front, and not a blot on his scutcheon 
after fourscore years of duty well done in the fierce and cease- 
less campaign of life." 

" Oli, yet we trust that somehow good 
Will be the linal goal of ill, 
To pangs of nature, sins of will, 
Defects of doubt, and taints of blood; 

"That nothing walks with aimless feet; 
That no one life shall be destroy'd, 
Or cast as rubbish to the void, 
When God hath made the pile complete ; 

" That not a worm is cloven in vain ; 
That not a moth with vain desire 
Is shrivel'd in a fruitless fire, 
Or but subserves another's gain. 

" Behold, we know not anything; 

I can but trust that gooxl shall fall 
At last far off at last, to all, 
And every winter change to spring. 

" So runs my dream ; but what am I ? 
An infant crying in the night; 
An infant crying for the light ; 
And with no language but a cry." 

This sketch is the best part of Mr. Haywood's address to 
the bench and bar of Wake county, delivered shortly after 
Mr. Moore's death. If he presents the character of his sub- 


ject correctly, as far as he goes, he does not make a complete 

Mr. Haywood had the reputation of having more learn- 
ing than judgment, and his reading in law was very wide; 
he was not the man to go into details and marshal the facts 
requisite for a perfect sketch. 

Mr. Moore feared lest his fellow-countrymen should mis- 
judge the motives which made him a Union man during the 
war. He therefore inserted in his will an item which ex- 
plains his views. 'No great man is ever careless of what his 
people and their posterity may think of his conduct. The 
records of his adopted county will safely keep his eloquent 
words, and the originality of Ms method of preserving them 
will cause them to be republished from time to time. 
Item 39 of Mr. Moore's will reads as follows: 
" Prior to the late civil war I had been for more than 
thirty years much devoted to investigating the nature and 
principles of our Federal and State governments, and during 
that period, having been several times profoundly exercised 
as to the true and lawful powers of each not as a politician, 
but as a citizen truly devoted to my country I was unable, 
under my conviction of the solornn duties of patriotism, to 
give any excuse for or countenance to the Civil War of 1861 
without sacrificing all self-respect. My judgment was the in- 
structor of my conscience, and no man suffered greater misery 
than did I as the scenes of battle unfolded the bloody carnage 
of war in the midst of our homes. I had been taught under 
the deep conviction of my judgment that there could be no 
reliable liberty of my State without the union of the States, 
and being devoted to my State, I felt that I should desert her 
whenever I should aid to destroy the Union. I could not 
imagine a more terrible spectacle than that of beholding the 
sun shining upon the broken and dishonored fragments of 
States dissolved, discordant and belligerent, and on a land rent 


with civil feuds and drenched in fraternal blood. With this 
horrible picture of anarchy and blood looming up before my 
eyes, I could not, as a patriot, consent to welcome its approa-ch 
to my own native land, and truly was I happy when I saw the 
sun of peace rising with the glorious promise to shine once 
more 011 States equal and free, honored and united. And 
although the promise has been long delayed by an unwise 
policy, and I myself may never see the full-orbed sun of lib- 
erty shine on my country and every part of it as once it did, 
yet I have strong hopes that my countrymen will yet be 
blessed with that glorious light." 

The argument of Mr. Moore, or brief, as it is called, in the 
State vs. Witt, is the best thing of the kind in the law books 
of this State. I cannot prophesy much of a future in any 
field of public service for that young man who shall fail to 
be impressed and interested by this powerful production. I 
therefore give it entire. 



The defendant was indicted for the murder of one Richard 
Baxter, and on the trial before Judge Donnell, at Edge- 
combe, on the last Circuit, the jury returned the following 
special verdict, viz.: 

" That the prisoner, Will, was the property of James S. 
Battle, and the deceased, Richard Baxter, was the overseer 
of said Battle, and entrusted with the management of the 
prisoner at the time of the commission of the homicide; that 
early in the morning of the 22d day of January last, on 
which day the killing took place, the prisoner had a dispute 
with slave Allen, who was likewise the property of said 
Battle, and a foreman on the same plantation of which the de- 
ceased was overseer; that the dispute between the prisoner 
and the said Allen arose about a hoe which the former claimed 
to use exclusively on the farm on account of his having helved 
it in his own time; but which the latter directed another slave 
to use on that day. That some angry words passed between 
the prisoner and the foreman, upon which the prisoner broke 
out the helve, and went off about one-fourth of a mile to his 
work, which was packing cotton with a screw; that very soon 
after the dispute between the prisoner and the foreman, the 
latter informed the deceased what had occurred, who imme- 
diately went into his house; that while the deceased was in 
his house, his wife was heard to say, ' I would not, my dear,' 
to which he replied in a positive tone of voice, ' I will ' ; that 
in a. very short time after this the deceased came out of his 
house to the place where the foreman was, and told him that 
he, the deceased, was going after the prisoner, and directed 
the foreman to take his cowhide and follow him at a distance ; 
that the deceased then returned into the house and took his 
gun, mounted his horse and rode to the screw, a distance of 
about six hundred yards, where the prisoner was at work; 


that the deceased came up within twenty or twenty-five feet 
of the screw without being observed by the prisoner; dis- 
mounted and hastily g'ot over the fence into the screw-yard; 
that the deceased, with his gun in his hand, walked directly 
to the box on which the prisoner was standing, engaged in 
throwing cotton, and ordered the prisoner to come down ; that 
the prisoner took off his hat in an humble manner and came 
down; that the deceased spoke some words to the prisoner 
which were not heard by any of the three negroes present; 
that the prisoner thereupon made off, and getting between 
ten and fifteen steps from the deceased, the deceased fired 
upon him; that the report of the gun was very loud, and the 
whole load lodged in the prisoner's back, covering a space of 
twelve inches square; that the wound caused thereby might 
have produced death ; that the prisoner continued to make off 
through a field, and after retreating in a run about one hun- 
dred and fifty yards in sight of the deceased, the deceased 
directed two of the slaves present to pursue him through the 
field, saying that ' he could not go far ' ; that the deceased 
himself, laying down his gun, mounted his horse, and having 
directed his foreman, who had just come up to pursue the 
prisoner likewise, rode round the field and headed the pris- 
oner; that as soon as the deceased had done this, he dis- 
mounted, got over the fence and pursued the prisoner on foot; 
that as soon as the prisoner discovered he was headed, he 
changed his course to a.void the deceased, and ran in another 
direction towards the wood; that after pursuing the prisoner 
on foot two or three hundred yards, the deceased came up 
with him and collared him with his right hand; that at this 
moment the negroes ordered to pursue the prisoner were run- 
ning towards the prisoner and the deceased; that the prisoner 
had run before he was overtaken by the deceased five or 
six hundred yards from the place where he was shot; that it 
was not more than six or eight minutes from the time of the 
shooting till the slaves in pursuit came to where the prisoner 
and deceased were engaged; that in a short time the said 
slaves came up, and being ordered by the deceased, one of them 
attempted to lay hold of the prisoner, who had his knife 
drawn, and the left thumb of the deceased in his mouth; that 


the prisoner struck at said slave with his knife, missed him 
and cut the deceased in the thigh. That in the scuffle be- 
tween the prisoner and the deceased, after the deceased over- 
took the prisoner, the deceased received from the prisoner a 
wound in his arm which occasioned his death; and that the 
deceased had no weapons during the scuffle. That soon after, 
the deceased let go his hold on the prisoner, who ran towards 
the nearest woods and escaped; that the deceased did not pur- 
sue him, but directed the slaves to do so; that the deceased 
soon recalled the slaves, and when they returned the deceased 
was sitting on the ground bleeding, and as they came up the 
deceased said, ' Will has killed me ; if I had minded what my 
poor wife said, I should not have been in this fix.' That be- 
sides the wound on his thigh the deceased had a slight punc- 
ture on his breast, about skin-deep, and a wound about four 
inches long and two inches deep on his right arm, above his 
elbow, which was inflicted by the prisoner, and which from 
loss of blood occasioned his death, and that he died on the 
same day in the evening; that the prisoner went the same 
day to his master and surrendered himself; that the next day, 
upon being arrested and informed of the death of the de- 
ceased, the prisoner exclaimed, ' Is it possible ? ' and appeared 
so much affected that he came near falling, and was obliged 
to be supported. That the homicide and all the circumstances 
connected therewith took place in Edgecombe county. 

" But whether upon the whole matter aforesaid the said 
Will be guilty of the felony and murder in the said indictment 
specified and charged upon him, the said jurors are alto- 
gether ignorant, and pray the advice of the Court thereupon. 
And if upon the whole matter aforesaid it shall appear 
to the Court that he is guilty of the felony and murder where- 
with he stands charged, then, they find him guilty. If upon 
the whole matter aforesaid, it shall appear to the Court that 
he is not guilty of the murder aforesaid charged upon him 
by said indictment, then the said jurors upon their oaths afore- 
said, do say, that the said Will is not guilty of the murder 
aforesaid, as the said Will has for himself above in pleading 
alleged, but that the said Will is only guilty of feloniously 
killing and slaying the said Kichard Baxter." Upon this 


special verdict, liis Honor gave judgment that the prisoner 
was guilty of murder, and pronounced sentence of death; 
whereupon the prisoner appealed to the Supreme Court. 

B. F. MOORE FOR THE PRISONER. It is conceded that Baxter 
occupied the place of master, and, in his capacity of overseer, 
was invested with all the authority of owner, in the means of 
rendering the prisoner subservient to his lawful commands. 
With this concession, freely made, it is believed, that if the 
shot of the deceased had proved fatal, he had been guilty of 
murder, and not of manslaughter only. The instrument used, 
and the short distance between the parties, were calculated to 
produce death; and nothing but the want of malice could have 
deprived the act of any of the features of murder. The dis- 
obedience of running from his master on account of threat- 
ened chastisement, however provoking, does not justify the 
death of a slave. It is truly calculated to surprise the master 
into a sudden gust of passion, and, on this account, death in- 
flicted during such a moment may well be mitigated to the 
offense of manslaughter. But it is only the surprise of the 
passions that will extenuate their transport. Divest the act 
of all idea of surprise, it then becomes deliberate, and in law, 
there will be no difference between shooting for the disobedi- 
ence at the moment of running away, and many days there- 
after. It is clear then, that if Baxter's shot had been fatal, 
he had been guilty of murder and not of manslaughter. For, 
that he loaded his gun and proceeded to the cotton-screw with 
the intent to shoot the prisoner, if the latter should make off, 
is manifest from his whole conduct, and particularly so, from 
the fact of his directing the foreman to walk behind at a dis- 
tance. If he had armed himself for defense, expecting a con- 
flict with the prisoner, he would have summoned his aid and 
kept it at his heels ready for the encounter. The bloody pur- 
pose of shooting had certainly been formed, and the time 
given him for reflection and the calm concoction of his plans 
evince a settled design and perfect deliberation. He w r as nut 
surprised into the act of shooting; it was deliberate; it was 
expected and intended beforehand, and, therefore, mur- 

It is further believed by the prisoner's counsel, that if on 


firing the shot, Baxter had rushed towards him in a tin-cut - 
ening manner, and the prisoner had turned, being unable to 
escape, and slain the deceased, the act had been homicide 
se defendendo, and this upon the clearest principles of criminal 

The prisoner's counsel contends: 

First, That if Baxter's shot had killed the prisoner, Baxter 
would have been guilty of manslaughter at the least. 

Second, This position being established, the killing of Bax- 
ter under the circumstances stated is but manslaughter in the 

The first position would seem too plain to be argued; but as 
an opinion appears to be rapidly pervading the public mind 
that any means may be resorted to to coerce the perfect sub- 
mission of the slave to his master's will, and that any resist- 
ance to that will, reasonable or unreasonable, lawfully places 
the life of the slave at his master's feet, it may be useful to 
attempt to draw the line, if there be any, between the lawful 
and unlawful exercise of the master's power. That there is 
such a line, though it may be difficult in all cases to find it 
and fix it with precision, is nevertheless true; and although the 
courts may resolve that in all cases short of homicide they will 
not look for it, yet, disagreeable and perplexing as the task 
may be, they cannot avoid the search so long as a master may 
be tried for the homicide of the slave, or so long as the slave 
may set up any defense for the homicide of his master. 

It is not intended to combat the correctness of the decision 
in the State vs. Mann, 2 Dev., 263, though that case leaves the 
slave, when his life is spared, under the slender guardianship 
of the " frowns and execrations " of a moral community 
against cruelty. That decision is not understood by me as 
some have expounded it. In declaring that a master cannot 
be indicted for a battery on his slave, the Court is not to be 
understood to affirm that he cannot be indicted for any offense 
which necessarily includes a battery. I apprehend the sub- 
stance of their decision to be that they will take no cognizance 
of any violence done to the slave by the master which docs 
not produce death. It is true, there is a portion of the opinion 
of the Court which puts the slave entirely out of the pale of 


the law, and secures the master in a despotic immunity. On 
page 2 06 the Court says: " Such obedience is the consequence 
of only uncontrolled authority over the body; there is nothing which can operate to produce the effect; the power of the 
master must be absolute to render the submission of the slave 
perfect. In the actual condition of things it must be so, 
there is no remedy; this discipline belongs to the state of 
slavery; they cannot be disunited without abrogating at once 
the right of the master and absolving the slave from his obli- 
gation." These expressions, it must be admitted, are clear be- 
yond cavil in their meaning, and that they were selected to 
convey, with great accuracy, the opinions of the learned judge 
who used them, may be well argued from the frank confession 
which he avows of their abhorrence. In truth, they do out- 
law the slave and legalize his destruction at the will of his 
master. It is believed, however, that they were never in- 
tended to cover the entire relation between master and slave. 
If they were, it is humbly submitted that they are not only 
startling and abhorrent to humanity, but at variance with 
statute law and decided cases. Uncontrolled authority over 
the body is uncontrolled authority over the life ; and authority, 
to be uncontrolled, can be subject to no question. Absolute 
power is irresponsible pow r er, circumscribed by no limits save 
its own imbecility, and selecting its own means with an un- 
fettered discretion. Absolute power is exempt from legal 
inquiry, 'and is absolved from all accountability for the extent 
or mode of its exercise. 

During its operations it acknowledges no equal which may 
check its will, and knows no superior afterwards which may 
rightfully punish its deeds. The language of the Court does 
not strictly and precisely describe the relation of master and 
slave which subsisted in ancient Rome, and does now subsist 
in modern. Turkey; a relation which this Court in the case of 
State vs. Read did most emphatically denounce as inhuman, 
unsuited to the genius of our laws, and unnecessary to protect 
the master in his legal rights. In that case Judge Henderson 
fixes the true boundary of the master's power. It extends, 
says he, to securing the services and labors of the slave, and no 
farther. And he expressly declares that a power over the 

MOOKK'S AKcr.MK.vr. :; ( .i."i 

life of the slave is not surrendered l>y the law, because the 
possession of such a power is noways necessary to the purposes 
of slavery, and that his life is in the care of the law. 

The idea of the perfect submission of the slave is in true 
accordance with the policy which should regulate that condi- 
tion of life, wherever it may exist. But whether it will more 
certainly result from the absolute power of the owner than 
from a large but limited authority, is questionable indeed. 
^Inre especially, if it be true, as argued in the opinion already 
referred to, that the absolute power of the master, although 
left unrestrained by law, is checked and fettered by what is 
stronger than law, the irresistible force of public sentiment. 
If that force is now setting in a counter-current against the 
license of absolute power, either it is to be deprecated and 
stopped, or absolute pow r er is most clearly proved to be un- 
necessary to the ends of slavery. The courts of the country 
should foster the enlightened benevolence of the age, and 
interpret the powers which one class of the people claim over 
another, in conformity, not with the spirit which tolerates 
the barbarian who is guilty of savage cruelty, but with that 
which heaps upon him the frowns and deep execrations o-f the 
community. All domestic police power must be regulated by 
the feelings and views of those who dispense it. If it be true, 
then; that public sentiment will no longer tolerate the excess- 
ive cruelties from the master, as is said by Taylor, Chief Jus- 
tice, in the State vs. Hale; by Henderson, Chief Justice, in 
the State vs. Read; and by Ruffin, Chief Justice, in the State 
vs. Mann; and if it be true, likewise, that the relation between 
master and slave is to be discovered from the opinions and 
feelings of the masters, we cannot hear without surprise that 
it is necessary, in the actual condition of things, to clothe the 
master with an uncontrolled and absolute authority over the 
body of the slave. If such necessity now exists, the rheto- 
rician hath spoken, and not the judge. If such necessity does 
not exist, the power is given for abuse, and not to accomplish 
the objects of slavery. It would seem really, that whilst the 
courts are lauding the Christian benevolence of the times 
manifested by the humane treatment of the slaves, they are 
engaged in investigating to what possible extent the master 


may push, his authority without incurring responsibility. 
They feel shocked at the discovery they make themselves, 
but rise from their labor with the consolation that few are so 
abandoned to a sense of public indignation as to enjoy the 
revealed prerogative. If the expression could be divested of 
the appearance of sarcasm, some truth might, perhaps, be 
found in the assertion that the great result of their disclosure 
has been to teach the kind master how merciful and moderate 
he is in the midst of such plenitude of power, and the cruel 
one, how despised and desecrated he will be if he use its legal 
license. Good men will feel no pleasure in the revealment, 
bad men will be freed from the check of ignorance. 

It is further said in the State vs. Mann, " That the slave, 
to remain a slave, must be made sensible that there is no 
appeal from his master; that his power in no one instance is 
usurped." The language here is equally explicit, and alto- 
gether as strong, as that before quoted. It denies to the slave 
the smallest attribute of a rational or feeling creature. It not 
only represses thought, and extinguishes all power to delib- 
erate on any command of his master, however repugnant to 
natural justice it may be, and whether its execution is to affect 
himself or others ; but it professes to control into perfect tame- 
ness the instinct of self-preservation. It would be difficult, 
and if it were easy, it would be lamentable, to accomplish the 
former; but it would be impossible to effect the latter. Such 
insensibility to life would defeat the very object of its incul- 
cation the value of the slave. For we can never hope 
to regulate this powerful instinct of nature with an adjust- 
ment which will quietly yield all its love of life into the 
hands f a ferocious master and yet preserve it against the 
world beside. But if it were desirable so far to annihilate it, 
the task is beyond the reach of human ingenuity and not to 
be accomplished by the possession of absolute power, however 
fearfully enforced or terribly exercised. The relation of 
master and slave may repress all the noble energies and manly 
sentiments of the soul, and may degrade the moral being into 
a brute condition. And when this is done we shall not be 
astonished to see the moral brute exhibiting the instinct nat- 
ural to the brute condition. How vain must it always be, 


when we shall have reduced humanity to its ultimate capa- 
bility of degradation, to expect any embellishment of mind to 
adorn the wretched <-xist(-nce. If the relation rc<juiiv that tin- 
slave be disrobed of the essential features which distinguish 
him from the brute, the relation must adapt itself to the con- 
sequences and leave its subject the instinctive privileges of a 

I am arguing no question of abstract right, but am endeav- 
oring to prove that the natural incidents of slavery must be 
borne with, because they are inherent to the condition itself; 
and that any attempt to restrain or punish a slave for the exer- 
cise of a right, which even absolute power cannot destroy, is 
inhuman, and without the slightest benefit to the security of 
the master, or to that of society at large. The doctrine may 
be advanced from the bench, enacted by the Legislature, and 
enforced with all the varied agony of torture, and still the 
slave cannot believe, and will not believe, " That there is no 
one instance " in which the master's power is usurped. Na- 
ture, stronger than all, will discover many instances and vindi- 
cate her rights at any and at every price. When such a stim- 
ulant as this urges the forbidden deed punishment will be pow- 
erless to reclaim or to warn by example. It can serve no pur- 
pose but to gratify the revengeful feelings of one class of peo- 
ple and to inflame the hidden animosities of the other. 

With great deference to the opinion already commented on, 
it would appear to me that a conclusion directly the reverse 
as to the necessity of the absolute power in the master should 
have been drawn from the premises. The slave can only ex- 
pect to learn the law of the land as respects the power of the 
owner over him, from the manner in which it is generally, and 
almost universally, administered by the owner. If their treat- 
ment is now so mild or becoming so, as rarely to require the 
interposition of any tribunal for their protection, they will 
soon be taught by the conduct of their masters, if not already 
taught, that absolute power is not the master's right; and the 
consequence which may be expected will be that the slave will 
be prepared to resist its exercise when bad men attempt to 
commit the cruelties allowed by it. So important is it that 
the Court should, as far as possible, conform their exposition 


of the rights of men with those sentiments of the public 
which, by the Court themselves, are admitted to be whole- 
some and just. And especially should they do so when those 
rights are constituted by public opinion and almost exclusively 
by that alone. 

Whatever be the power, however, which the master may 
possess, it is given with the sole view to enable him to coerce 
the services of the slave, and all experience teaches us that a 
power over life is not necessary to effectuate that end. 

The usual modes of correction are found to be altogether 
sufficient. Punishment short of death serves the end of the 
master both as a corrective and as an example. Power over 
the life of the slave, being therefore unnecessary, ought not 
to be conceded. The use of highly dangerous weapons in 
cases of simple disobedience is not tolerated by the law, be- 
cause they are calculated to produce death. 

If the deceased had been resisted a great degree of force 
might have been used, and the law would not have been 
scrupulous in determining the excess. If he had been chas- 
tising the prisoner in the ordinary mode and death had en- 
sued, it would have been nothing more than an unfortunate 
accident. But the prisoner was neither resisting his master 
nor did the calamity grow out of any attempt to chastise. It 
is confidently contended that a master has not by the law of 
the land the right to kill his slave for a simple act of disobedi- 
ence, however provoking may be the circumstances under 
which it is committed; that if a slave be required to stand, 
and he run off, he has not forfeited his life. This is conclu- 
sive, if the law will never justify a homicide except it be 
committed upon unavoidable necessity, and will never excuse 
one, except it be done by misadventure or se defendendo. 
There is no principle of criminal law which will justify or 
excuse the death that has been caused through the provoca- 
tion of the passions alone. 

This court has repudiated all idea of similarity between the 
relation of master and apprentice, as understood in the Eng- 
lish law, and that of master and slave as understood in ours. 
I cannot perceive the propriety of such total repudiation. 
The foundation of both relations is the same, to wit, service; 


and although the slave may stand in a lower grade than the 
mere apprentice, and be more dependent on his master, yet it 
is submitted that the difference is in the degree and not in the 
nature of the authority which the master of the one or the 
other may exercise. This seems to have been the idea of Jus- 
tice Blackstone, w r ho, in speaking of homicide by parents and 
masters caused by immoderate correction, proceeds: " Thus 
by an edict of the Emperor Constantine, when the rigor of 
the Roman law began to relax and soften, a master was 
allowed to chastise his slave with rods and imprisonment; and 
if death accidentally ensued he was guilty of no crime; but 
otherwise, if he struck him with a club or a stone, and thereby 
occasioned his death, or if in any yet grosser manner (as by 
shooting), immoderate suo jure utaiur, tune reus Jwmicidii 
sit. 4 Bl. Com., 183. 

It is not my purpose, however, to place the slave and appren- 
tice on the same footing. It is freely conceded that there 
is a great difference between the two conditions, and that 
many cases of homicide committed precisely under the same 
circumstances would be murder of an apprentice, and only 
manslaughter of a slave. Thus the master has the right to 
beat his apprentice as well as his slave, but the principle is 
universal (with a solitary exception), that a man having the 
right, under a given provocation, to lay hand upon another, 
but using a weapon calculated to produce death, and death 
ensuing, is guilty of murder. The exception alluded to is the 
slaying of an adulterer caught in the act. Now, if an appren- 
tice disobeys and runs from his master in order to escape 
chastisement, and the master shoots and kills him, it is 

Surely the slaying of the slave under the same circum- 
stances, after full allowance for the difference in their grade 
of life, can be nothing less than manslaughter. If the law, 
for the purposes of policy, will not permit the master to be 
called to account for batteries, however cruel or unjust, done 
on the body of his slave, as it does in the case of an appren- 
tice, yet when it is obliged to examine the extent of the mas- 
ter's powers by reason of death, then it will apply the same 
reasonable rules in investigating the master's guilt and the 


slave's conduct and rights, which it applies in the case of slay- 
ing an apprentice, suiting the rule to the difference of condi- 
tion. 1 Hawks, 217. If, indeed, the master may not be 
called to account till the death of his slave, if he have this 
wide scope of authority, to be exercised upon his own discre- 
tion, it is highly reasonable that, when he is called to account, 
the examination should be rigorous, for it is the only protec- 
tion which the slave can claim at the hands of the law, and, 
therefore, ought to be strict, in order that it may be the more 
efficient. It is here alone that the slave, in the eye of the law, 
ascends from the level of mere property, and takes an humble 
stand amid his species. 

Here he is regarded as a rational creature. 8 coifs case, 
1 Hawks, 24; State vs. Read, 2 Hawks, 454. The necessity 
of averring that he is property, and whose property, as is 
requisite in indictments for the batteries of slaves, is here 
dispensed with; and from this distinction alone it w r ould ap- 
pear that the courts, in the very form of the indictment for 
murder, have not recognized the exemption of the master 
from the accountability, common to the world beside, for the 
death of a slave. 2 Dev., 264. 

The prisoner was shot in the act of making off from his 
overseer who was prepared to chastise him. A master's au- 
thority to apprehend his slave cannot be greater than that of a 
constable or sheriff to arrest for a misdemeanor; and a con- 
stable may not kill in order to prevent the escape of one guilty 
of that grade of offense. The law has so high a regard for 
human life that it directs the officer to permit an escape rather 
than kill. If the officer act illegally, by abusing his au- 
thority, or exceeding it, resistance unto death is not murder. 
But if the master have greater authority to apprehend his 
slave than a law-officer hath to arrest, under a precept, for a 
misdemeanor, he certainly has not a greater than a sheriff, 
acting under a precept, hath to arrest a felon. Here the la\v 
again shows its tender and noble regard for human life and 
its detestation of the shedding of human blood. The officer is 
not allowed to kill a felon, a murderer, or a traitor, unless his 
escape be inevitable. " And in every instance in which one 
man can be justified in killing another, the abuse of his power 


makes him guilty of manslaughter." Bevil, 78. An officer, 
therefore, having the right to kill a felon in order to prevent 
his escape, and then doing so when the escape may be pre- 
vented by more lenient means, is guilty of manslaughter. 
This necessity must always be proven. It is never to be pre- 
sumed. ISTo such necessity appears in the finding of the jury. 
In legal contemplation, therefore, it does not exist. 

The law enjoins it as a duty on the officer to kill a felon, 
rather than permit his escape, upon the presumption, I sup- 
pose, that if he do escape, he will forever elude the penalty of 
his crime. Such is not the case with a runaway slave, who, 
in general, may oe certainly recaptured. ISTo one will be 
found to maintain that it is the duty of the master to kill his 
slave rather than suffer his temporary escape. The prisoner 
was in the act of disobedience and not of resistance, between 
which there is a substantial difference. Act of 1791, Bevil, 
114. The deceased then greatly exceeded his authority; 
whether the prisoner is to be considered in the light of an ap- 
prentice, of one who had committed an aggravated misde- 
meanor, or even in that of a felon; and if death had ensued, 
I conclude that he would have been guilty of manslaughter 
at the least. 

This brings us to the important question in this case. Was 
the prisoner justly so provoked by the shooting as, under the 
influence of ordinary human frailty, to cause his reason to be 
dethroned, and to be deprived of deliberation? Or, in the 
language of Judge Haywood, in ISTorris's case, "was not the 
prisoner thereby deprived of the free and proper exercise of 
his rational faculties, owing to the fury of resentment, not 
unreasonably conceived? " If he was, that ends the question. 
Was it such a provocation as, allowing for the disparity of the 
free and slave condition of men in this country, was well calcu- 
lated, even in minds tolerably well regulated, to throw a man 
off his guard and excite a furious anger? If so, the State vs. 
Merrill, 2 Dev., 279 (Ruffin's opinion), determines the fate 
of the prisoner. An appeal to human nature in its most de- 
graded state will answer, unhesitatingly, it was. jSTo man can 
reason and respond otherwise. And it appears to me that an 
appeal to the principles of law, as founded in the nature of 



man and recognized for centuries, will leave not a particle 
of doubt. Can the prisoner be guilty of murder? "Who can 
review the circumstances of the case, and in candor pronounce 
that they cany in them " the plain indication of a heart 
regardless of social duty, and fatally bent on mischief? ' : If 
this case can be made to reach this standard definition of mur- 
der, what bosom is there which does not luxuriate in the poison 
of murderous thought? And in vain may nature plead her 
wrongs and the tempest of the passions to excuse the indiscre- 
tion of her fitful moments. It may be murder, but if so, it 
must find its guilt, not in the human disposition, but in a 
policy that knows no frailty and shows no mercy. That 
policy is yet to be declared; I will not suppose its intended 
application to this case, and I shall, therefore, for the present, 
take the liberty of discussing the defense upon the received 
principles which define murder and distinguish it from man- 

Murder is the felonious killing of a human creature with 
deliberation. The act must have three intents. 1. An intent 
to kill or hurt. 2. An intent to kill or hurt unjustly. 3. The 
intent must be deliberate. It is only necessary in this case 
to consider the deliberation of the intent; for it is admitted 
that the intent of the prisoner was to kill or hurt, and that it 
was unjust; but it is denied that it was deliberate. 

The intent is not deliberate if there be provoking cause. 

The mischievous, vindictive disposition essential to consti- 
tute the crime of murder is implied from the want of legal 
cause of provocation. The greatest care should be taken not 
to confound a vindictive act with such an act as shows a vin- 
dictive disposition. Every case of manslaughter, perpetrated 
in anger, is a vindictive act, whilst every case of murder ex- 
hibits the vindictive disposition. A vindictive act simply is 
the result of ordinary frailty; a vindictive disposition is the 
attendant of extraordinary depravity. The former comes of 
a surprise- of the passions; the latter marshals, stimulates, and 
leads the passions. 

Manslaughter wants one of the above intents which define 
murder. It implies an intent to kill or hurt, and that the 
intent is unjust, but supposes the absence of deliberation, or 


the presence of a justly provoking cause. But what is justly 
provoking cause? In our search for the meaning of the ex- 
pression we cannot consult the vague notions of men as to 
insults. There would not only Le no certainty in them as a 
guide, but they would strip men of all security for their lives. 
We must appeal to the common law as it has recognized ex- 
cusable frailties. Its principles, being bottomed on human 
nature civilized by legal restraints and legal privileges, adapt 
themselves with a happy facility to all the changes and modi- 
fications of society, and to all the mutations in the relations 
of its parts. These principles, having discarded the idea of 
legal provocation from words, have resolved the foundation of 
their existence into the protection of the person. 

Self-preservation, being a prime law of nature, and indis- 
pensable to the first and permanent interests of society, the 
instinct is fostered instead of being checked. The policy of 
the law to cherish it is what dispenses indulgence to an excess 
of force requisite to preserve it and palliates an unnecessary 
homicide. If human institutions could so blunt this sense as 
to effectuate a law which should forbid blow for blow not 
threatening death, the introduction of slavery, to a great 
degree, would be already prepared. If, however, the degra- 
dation should stop at this point, still there would be a very 
ample scope for this powerful sense to act in, and a dangerous 
attack, or a blow menacing death, being out of the customary 
sufferance, would call up, in vigor, the unsubdued though 
mutilated sense, and surprise it into action. It is not the 
object of the law, in its regulation of the relation of master 
and slave, to destroy any portion of the instinct of self-preser- 
vation. On the contrary, it would be rejoiced to preserve it 
entire, but this is inconsistent with the subjection of the slave, 
without which he is valueless. If this instinct were permitted 
to be displayed by the slave as by a freeman, the authority of 
the master would be at an end. Hence it is that when it is 
not so essential to be curbed it is allowed to enjoy a wider 
range ; as, in respect of strangers who have no right to assume 
any authority, it is permitted to turn many degrees toward 
the condition of freemen. Hence it is, too, that whenever 
the law, for the purpose of sustaining the relation of the sev- 


eral parts of society deemed essential to the peace and safety 
of the whole, tolerates its partial suppression, it provides the 
best possible security against any abuse likely to occur be- 
cause of its required extinction. Thus it gives to the wife 
the protection of love and identity of welfare; to the child 
the shield of affection; to the apprentice the guaranty of a 
penal bond; and to the slave the guard of interest. In gen- 
eral, in proportion as these securities are weaker, that of the 
law itself ought to be stronger; and, in proportion as the sub- 
jection in the one or the other of these relations is required to 
be greater or less, so must the suppression of this instinct be 
greater or less. The subjection in the relation of slavery 
ought to be greater, and so ought the extinction of the instinct 
to be greater than in any of the other relations. It is the 
legal duty of all who are subjects in any one of them to adapt 
and conform this instinct to the extent necessary to maintain 
the relation; and if any one do not, he shall not plead its want 
of subjection in excuse of a deed occasioned by his neglect of 
duty. If an apprentice, being under lawful correction, shall 
resist and slay his master, it is murder, and not manslaughter, 
because the law cannot admit that he was provoked. If a 
slave be under any correction, with or without cause from his 
master, provided it do not threaten death or great bodily harm, 
and he resist and kill his master, this is murder likewise, and for 
the same reason, as the law requires this degree of submission 
from him. But if the apprentice be unlawfully beaten and he 
resist and kill his master, it is not murder, because the law 
hath not required him to extinguish his instinct of preserva- 
tion to such an extent, and therefore it admits that he was 
provoked; so, if a slave be beset by his master in a manner 
to threaten death and he slay his master, this cannot be mur- 
der, because the law hath not required him to extinguish his 
instinct to so great a degree, and, therefore, it admits that he 
was provoked. In a word, in those bounds within which the 
law has enjoined it as a duty to curb the instinct of self- 
preservation, we are not allowed to display it, and if we do, 
the law cannot hear the defense of provocation ; but all display 
of it, out of these bounds, is admissible and is the effect of 
legal provocation. The law demands it as a duty that we 


should tame our passions to suit the conditions which it has 
assigned us. It supposes that this duty will become habitual 
and consequently easy of performance, and that we will con- 
form ourselves to its requirements. This, and this alone, is 
the true foundation of all the distinction between the master 
and the apprentice, between the freeman and the slave. 

But having conformed ourselves to a given and required 
degradation, to an enjoined submission, we are ready by our 
very nature and habits to resist any degradation or submis- 
sion greatly beyond that which we have learned to acquiesce 
in as a duty. When a slave is required to bare his back to 
the rod, he does it because it is usual ; but when he is required 
to stand as a target for his master's gun, he is startled no 
idea of duty sustains the requirement and the unquelled por- 
tion of his instinct rouses his passions to resistance. 

Human institutions are inadequate to the task of settling a 
condition in society which shall impart to its members the 
highest perfection of philosophic fortitude and the lowest 
degradation of animal existence which shall blend into har- 
mony the reasonable man and the passionless brute. 

When it is declared that a slave is a reasonable or human 
creature, and that he is the subject of felony at common law; 
that murder and manslaughter both may be perpetrated on his 
person, that himself may commit both, it would seem to 
result that he was acknowledged to possess the infirmities 
common to his species. That they must be palliated in some 
cases, even when the master is the victim, I hope I have satis- 
factorilv shown. And now I come to the deliberate conclu- 


sion that the only difference caused by the relation consists 
in the fact that there are some acts of the slave which con- 
stitute provocation that would not if done by a freeman; 
some which would constitute provocation to the master which 
would not to a stranger; and on the contrary, that a slave is 
not permitted to be provoked at many acts done by a stranger 
freeman which would constitute a lawful provocation if done 
by a fellow-slave; and that a great variety of acts done by the 
master shall not be sufficient cause of provocation which, if 
done by a stranger, would be so deemed, but that in not a single 
relation in which the slave is placed by law is he debarred in 


every case of violence to his person from feeling and pleading 
a legal provocation. 

If I have been successful in showing that the deceased 
greatly abused his authority by shooting at the prisoner, and 
that the act was calculated to produce a resentment not un- 
reasonably conceived, the inference in law is irresistible that if 
the prisoner, immediately on being shot, had turned and slain 
the deceased, it could not have been more than man- 
slaughter; and the only important point now remaining to be 
discussed is whether the interval of time between the reception 
of the injury and the commission of the homicide enhances 
the guilt of the deed. The law would be vain and nugatory 
as a rule of action if it should allow that the passions may be 
justly provoked and yet refuse to allow a reasonable time for 
their subsidence. When it says that reason may be de- 
throned it is never guilty of the solecism of holding the judg- 
ment accountable till reason can be reseated. Whether there 
may have been sufficient time for that important operation of 
the faculties, is a question often dependent on the circum- 
stances of the case. The continuance of the original exciting 
causes and the addition of subsequent stimulants being neces- 
sarily calculated to prevent the restoration of reason, may 
prolong the time till they cease to exist; nor even then, at the 
very moment of their cessation, does the law demand that 
the bosom shall return to its calm and tranquillity. Such an 
instantaneous repose is no more to be looked for, in the tem- 
pest of the passions, than it is in the storms of the ocean, 
whose angry waves are often seen to run mountain high long 
after the dark cloud hath passed away, and the raving wind 
hath fled from the conflict, leaving its enraged victim heaving 
with agitation beneath a tranquil and sunny heaven. 

The time in this case was but six or eight minutes, and the 
wound calculated to produce death. If the exciting cause of 
provocation had here ceased, it would be a rigid and unnatural 
rule, to require, at the expiration of this short period, the 
presence of a responsible judgment; for it is perfectly ap- 
parent, that in proportion to the severity of the injury 
received, will be the length of time which nature demands 
to" adjust the shaken balance of the mind. The prisoner had 


much cause to suspect that his wound would prove fatal; and 
no man, either bond or free, laboring under the excitement 
incident to such a situation, could, so soon, have quelled his 
furv and recalled his scattered senses. But these few mo- 


ments were not allowed to be moments of rest and thought to 
the wounded man. They were moments of flight and active 
pursuit; flight, by a man, dangerously shot, his wounds bleed- 
ing in profusion, and chafed into agony by the friction of his 
clothes and the motions of his body; pursuit by a man who 
had meditated and attempted a deadly injury; Avho called to 
his aid three more men, ready to execute his purposes, what- 
ever they might be, and who was well aware of the mangled 
condition of his victim, and who, under the full conviction of 
his shot proving fatal, cheered his comrades of the chase, by 
the unfeeling exclamation, " He can't run far." Let it be re- 
membered, too, that the prisoner, during this space of time, had 
run a distance of five or six hundred yards; that he was over- 
taken by a man who, in moments perfectly cool, when com- 
pared with those in which he captured the prisoner, had not 
hesitated to shoot him at a distance of a few rods, and by what 
logic can we arrive at the conclusion, either that the prisoner 
had enjoyed opportunity to regain his judgment, or that he 
had not every reason to apprehend from the deceased the fin- 
ishing stroke to his life ? How could he be trusted, with every 
passion inflamed to madness, who in cooler times had violated 
every duty as a man, had deliberately prepared himself to 
take the life of his 'fellow-man, and, as a superintendent, had, 
for trifling cause, attempted to destroy valuable property en- 
trusted to his care? In no part of the slave's conduct does he 
evince a disposition to seek a conflict. He takes every occa- 
sion to avoid it. AVhen he is headed, he does not hesitate to 
turn his course, and flee from an encounter. 

Upon the whole, I cannot bring my mind to the conclusion, 
that this case is of higher grade than manslaughter, if of that; 
and whatever may be the prisoner's fate, I am free to declare, 
and with the most sincere candor, that I do not recognize in 
his conduct the moral depravity of a murderer, nor any high 
degree of inaptitude to the condition of slavery. He was 
disobedient, it is true, and ran to avoid chastisement. Three- 


fourths of our slaves occasionally do this. He slew his over- 
seer, it is true, after having been dangerously shot, pursued 
and overtaken. The tamest and most domestic brute will do 
likewise. And I feel that if he must expiate the deed under 
the gallows, he will be a victim, not of his own abandoned 
depravity, but a sacrifice offered to the policy which regulates 
the relation of slavery among us. But before he is sacrificed, 
it may be useful to inquire into that policy. The interests of 
society demand that it should be fixed, and permanently fixed, 
that the master may know the extent of his authority, and the 
slave prepare himself to its accommodation. 

]STo question can be more delicate, or attended with so many 
bad consequences if settled in error. It would be next to im- 
possible for the judiciary to adjust this relation adversely to 
any strong and deliberate opinion entertained by the public 
mind. The momentum of this feeling, acting through the 
juries of the country and the spirit of the Legislature, would 
be too powerful, successfully to be encountered by the courts. 
And in whatsoever decided current it might run, it would, 
finally, bear into its channel all interpretations of the law. 

By a timely and judicious administration of the law, how- 
ever, in relation to this subject, the courts may effect much in 
the formation of public opinion, and at this time they may 
exert the opportunities afforded by their situation, in a most 
liappy manner to impart fixedness and stability to those prin- 
ciples which form the true basis of the policy. They have of 
late frequently announced from the bench the progression of 
humanity in this relation, and their clear conviction that the 
condition of the slave was rapidly advancing in amelioration, 
under the benign influence of Christian precept and the 
benevolent auspices of improving civilization. It is believed 
that these convictions were founded in truth, and the various 
laws o-n the statute books bring ample testimony to the fact, 
As far as slavery has been the subject of legislation for the 
last ninety years, it has been undergoing a gradual revolution 
in favor of the slave, and it is confidently asserted, not adverse 
to the best interests of the master, or of the security of the 
public. In a popular government we can nowhere look for 
more correct information of the state of the public mind, upon 


a subject deeply interesting to the people at large, than in their 
laws. The history of the legislation of the State for the last 
century on this subject, during which more than a dozen prin- 
cipal acts have been passed at intervals, is a history of a grad- 
ual progression in the improvement of the condition of the 
slave, in the protection of his person, his comforts, and 
those rights not necessary to be surrendered to his master. 
The length of time in which this evidence of a common sen- 
timent has been continuing in one course, is irrefutable testi- 
mony of its being the true and deliberate sense of the com- 
munity. Very lately the whole subject came before the 
Legislature; and though it was at a time when the public 
mind was inflamed and alarmed at a recent and yet reeking 
massacre, they did not relax the laws made for their protec- 
tion, nor render their lives or persons less secure. From the 
Act of 1741, which put the life of the slave, on trial, in the 
hands of three justices and four freeholders, down to that of 
1831, which secures, beyond doubt, the right of the slave to a 
jury of slave owners, there will be found, without a solitary 
retrograde, one continued, persevering, and unbroken series 
of laws, raising the slave higher and higher in the scale of 
moral being. To the period of 1794, the character of the 
acts, though they are not numerous, nor strongly marked 
with exclusive benefit to the slave, is evincive of an intent to 
afford protection, where before it was weak. 

It is not possible that there can be found, anywhere, a plainer 
manifestation of a decided intent to raise the consideration 
and standing of the slave than is expressed in these acts of 
the Legislature. Will the Court disappoint this unequivocal 
intention? Will they rebuke the spirit of the age and strike 
back this unfortunate race of men, advancing from the depths 
of misery and wretchedness to a higher ground under the 
shield of so much legislation enacted in their behalf? 

Our laws furnish incontestable evidence of what is the en- 
lightened sentiment of the State. The history of other na- 
tions affords a body of luminous information to instruct us 
what that sentiment should be; and I feel no small pleasure 
in believing that the legislative policy of our past and present 
day most fully accords with that course which the long tried 


experience of bygone ages has distinctly marked out as the 
wiser and better one. 

Upon this subject the Baron Montesquieu has gathered the 
choicest materials of every age, clime, and nation. With a 
mind, formed in the mould of patience itself; strong by na- 
ture and enriched with a philosophic cultivation, he hath 
executed the task of analysis with the most profound and 
discriminating sagacity. With no object in view but the 
advancement of political knowledge, he hath unmasked all 
the forms of government, traced to the fountain the principles 
of their action, and exposed to the meanest capacity the deep- 
hidden reasons of all the diversified relations of man, and the 
true genius of the laws necessary to support them. 

In his Spirit of Laws, Vol. I, p. 291 et scq., to 298, he 
treats of the subject of slavery, and informs us as the result 
of his inquiries that in governments whose policy is warlike, 
and the citizens ever ready with amis in their hands to quell 
attempts to regain liberty, slaves may be treated with great 
rigor and severity without the hazard of servile wars; but that 
in republics, where the policy is essentially pacific, and the 
citizens devoted to the arts of peace and industry, the treat- 
ment of slaves should be mild and humane; that the power of 
the master should not be absolute, and that the slave should 
be put within the keeping of the law. If that candid and 
ingenious writer be not deceived in his conclusions, he has 
given us a hint for the regulation of our domestic servitude, 
the neglect of which may lead to the most fatal sequel. Our 
government is perhaps the most pacific on earth, and the citi- 
zens most addicted to the pursuits of civilized life. How 
inconsistent, then, will it be in us to adopt a policy in relation 
to 0'iir slaves which must be either yielded up or must change 
the habits and character of our people, and ultimately our 
form of government, with the blessing of liberty itself. 

We may not expect that the danger of servile wars will 
only operate to arm the citizens generally in their own defense. 
The recent insurrection may show, indeed, the formation of 
numerous companies of yeomanry for the purpose of being 
always ready to meet and vanquish the earliest movements of 
insurrectionary slaves; but a little observation at this time, 


.so soon, too, after the panic that gave rise to these preparations, 
will serve to show that at the present moment there rcmain.- 
scarcely a single one of the many associations which were then 
formed. They grew up with the panic, and they have van- 
ished with it. It must be apparent, then, if ever ready arms 
are necessary to our safety, they must be lodged in hands not 
filled with other occupations, but responsible to the public for 
efficiency and dispatch. In other words, if a display of force 
be requisite to chain down the spirit of insurrection or stop 
the bloody career of its actual march, a standing army, which 
will leave the great body of citizens to pursue their favorite 
occupations of peace in perfect security, will be the loud de- 
mand of the community. How certainly such a permanent 
association of armed men, first formed to preserve the relations 
of our slavery, will ultimately introduce a civil slavery over 
the whole land, the experience of other nations, and the warn- 
ing of our own Constitution, will most fearfully answer. I 
know it has been frequently said, and with some it is a favorite 
idea, that the more cruel the master, the more subservient 
will be the slave. This precept is abhorrent to humanity, and 
is a heresy unsupported by the great mass of historic experi- 
ence. The despair of individuals cannot last forever; neither 
will that of a numerous people afflicted with common wrongs, 
and exchanging a common sympathy. Rome had no servile 
wars till her masters had outraged every feeling of justice and 
benevolence and made their slaves drink the cup of unmiti- 
gated cruelty to its last drop ; nor had she any, that I remem- 
ber, after the first Christian prince of the empire had relaxed 
the intolerable degradations of that unfortunate class of her 

I feel and acknowledge, as strongly as any man can, the 
inexorable necessity of keeping our slaves in a state of de- 
pendence and subservience to their masters. But when shoot- 
ing becomes necessary to prevent insolence and disobedience, 
it only serves to show the want of proper domestic rules, but 
it will never supply it; and never can a punishment like this 
effect any other purpose than to produce open conflicts or 
secret assassinations. 

In adjusting the balance of this delicate subject, let it not 


be believed tliat the great and imminent danger is in over- 
loading the scale of humanity. The courts must pass through 
Scylla and Charybdis; and they may be assured that the peril 
of shipwreck is not avoided, by shunning with distant steerage, 
the whirlpool of Northern fanaticism. That of the South is 
equally fatal. It may not be so visibly seen, but it is as deep, 
as wide, and as dangerous. 




James Johnston Pettigrew, late a Brigadier-General in the 
army of the Confederate States, was born at Lake Scupper- 
nong, in Tyrrell county, North Carolina, upon the 4th day 
of July, 1828. His family is of French extraction. At an 
early period, however, one branch of it emigrated to Scotland, 
where it may be traced holding lands near Glasgow about the 
year 1492. Afterwards a portion of it removed to the north- 
ern part of Ireland. Prom this place James Pettigrew, the 
great-grandfather of the subject of this sketch, about the year 
1732, came into Pennsylvania, and, some twenty years after- 
wards, into North Carolina. About 1770 this gentleman re- 
moved to South Carolina, leaving here, however, his son 
Charles, who was a resident successively of the counties of 
Granville, Chowan, and Tyrrell. Charles Pettigrew was sub- 
sequently the first Bishop-elect of the Protestant Episcopal 
Church in this Diocese. He died in 1807, and his memory 
survives fragrant with piety, charity, and an extended useful- 
ness. His son, Ebenezer, succeeded to his estates and reputa- 
tion, devoting his life to the successful drainage and cultiva- 
tion of the fertile lands which he owned and to the govern- 
ment of the large family of which he was the head. Mr. 
Pettigrew resisted every solicitation presented by his neigh- 
bors for the employment of his talents in public service. 
Upon one occasion alone was his reluctance overcome. In 
1835 he was chosen by a very flattering vote to represent his 
district in the Congress of the United States. At that elec- 
tion he received the rare compliment of an almost unanimous 
vote from his fellow-citizens of Tyrrell, failing to obtain but 
three votes out of more than seven hundred. He could not 
be prevailed upon to be a candidate at a second election. Mr. 
Pettigrew married Miss Shepard, a daughter of the distin- 
guished family of that name seated at New Bern. She died 


in Julv, 1830, when her son James Johnston was but two 

t/ 7 

years of age. Ebenezer Pettigrew lived until July, 1848, 
having witnessed with great sensibility the very brilliant 
opening of his son's career among the contemporary youth 
of the land. 

After his mother's death the child was taken to the home of 
his grandmother at New Bern, and there remained until he 
was carried into Orange county to pursue his education. Ow- 
ing to a.n unfortunate exposure whilst an infant, young Petti- 
grew became a delicate boy, but by diligent and systematic 
exercise he gradually inured his constitution to endure with- 
out harm extraordinary fatigue and the extremes of weather. 
He was a member of various schools at Hillsborough from 
the year 1836, enjoying the advantages of instruction by Mr. 
Bingham for about four years previous to becoming a stu- 
dent at the University. During this period the state of his 
health required him to be often at home for several months 
together. He was a member of the University of North 
Carolina during a full term of four years, graduating there 
a.t the head of his class in June, 1847. From early childhood 
young Pettigrew had been noted as a boy of extraordinary 
intellect. At all the schools he was easily first in every class 
and in every department of study. He seemed to master his 
text-books by intuition. They formed the smallest portion of 
his studies, for his eager appetite for learning ranged widely 
over subjects collateral to his immediate tasks. Nor did they 
always stop here. His father was amused and gratified upon 
one occasion to observe the extent to which he had profited 
by his excursions among the medical books of an eminent phy- 
sician at Hillsborough, of whose family he was an inmate at 
the age of fourteen. In the class-room at the University he 
appeared in reciting rather to have descended to the level of 
the lesson than to have risen up to it. Student as he was, and 
somewhat reserved in demeanor, he was nevertheless very 
popular with his fellows, and the object of their enthusiastic 

Anecdotes were abundant as to the marvelous range of his 
acquirements, and the generosity and patience with which he 
contributed from his stores even to the dullest applicant for 


aid. Nor was it only in letters that lie was chief. A fenc- 
ing-master, who happened to have a class among the col- 
legians, bore quite as decided testimony to his merits in fenc- 
ing as lie had obtained from the various chairs of the faculty 
respecting his proficiency in their several branches. 

The commencement at which he graduated was distin- 
guished by the attendance of President Polk, Secretary 7 
Mason and Lieutenant Maury of the National Observatory. 
Impressed by the homage universally paid to his talents and 
acquirements, as well as by the high character of his gradu- 
ating oration, these gentlemen proposed to him to become an 
assistant in the Observatory. After spending some weeks in 
recreation, Mr. Pettigrew reported to Lieutenant Maury, and 
remained with him for six or eight months. In the occupa- 
tions of this office he fully maintained his earlier promise, but 
soon relinquished the position, inasmuch as the exposure and 
labor incident to it were injuriously affecting his health. 

After an interval of travel in the Northern States, Mr. Pet- 
tigrew, in the fall of 1848, became a student of law in the 
office of James Mason Campbell, Esq., of Baltimore, where he 
remained for several months. At the close of this period, by 
the solicitation of his kinsman, the late James L. Petigru of 
Charleston, S. C., he entered his office with the design of 
being subsequently associated with him in the practice of his 
profession. Upon obtaining license, Mr. Pettigrew, by the 
advice of the kinsman just mentioned, proceeded to Berlin and 
to other universities in Germany, in order to perfect himself 
in the civil law. He remained in Europe for nearly three 
years. Two years of this time he devoted to study, the 
remainder he spent in traveling upon the Continent, and in 
Great Britain and Ireland. He availed himself of this oppor- 
tunity of becoming acquainted with modem European lan- 
guages so far as to be able to speak with ease Gennan, French, 
Italian, and Spanish. During this tour he contracted a great 
partiality for Spanish character and history, having had con- 
siderable opportunity for studying the former, not only as a 
private gentleman, but also as Secretary of Legation, for a 
short while, to Colonel Barringer, then Minister of the United 
States near the Court of Spain. It may be proper to add here, 


that among the unaccomplished designs of Mr. Pettigrew, to 
which he had given some labor, was that of following Prescott 
in further narratives of the connection of Spain with America, 
and as a preliminary to this, he had made a collection of works 
in Arabic, and had made himself acquainted with that lan- 

Mr. Pettigrew returned to Charleston in November, 1852, 
and entered upon the practice of law in connection with his 
honored and accomplished relative. He profited so well by 
his studies in Europe and by his subsequent investigations, 
that in the opinion of his partner, who was well qualified to 
judge, he became a master of the civil law not inferior in 
acquisition and in grasp of principle to any in the United 
States. His success at the bar was brilliant. In 1856 he 
was chosen one of the representatives of the city in the Legis- 
lature, holding his seat under that election for the two sessions 
of December, 1856, and December, 1857. He rose to great 
distinction in that body. His report against the reopening of 
the slave-trade, and his speech upon the organization of the 
Supreme Court, gave him reputation beyond the bounds of the 
State. He failed to be reelected in 1858. 

Mr. Pettigrew persistently refused to receive any portion of 
the income of the partnership of which he was a member. 
Independent in property, and simple in his habits of personal 
expenditure, he displayed no desire to accumulate money. 
Noble in every trait of character, he held the contents of his 
purse subject to every draft that merit might present. 

For some years previous to the rupture between the North 
and the South, Mr. Pettigrew had anticipated its occurrence, 
and believing it to be his duty to be prepared to give his best 
assistance to the South, in such event, had turned his attention 
to military studies. Like many other rare geniuses, he had 
always a partiality for mathematics, and so very naturally 
devoted much time to that branch of this science which deals 
with war. Even as far back as 1850 he had been desirous of 
becoming an officer in the Prussian army; and negotiations 
for that end, set upon foot by military friends, whom he had 
made at Berlin, failed only because he was a republican. 
Afterwards he became aid to Governor Allston of South Caro- 


lina, and more recently to Governor Pickens. Upon the 
breaking out of the war between Sardinia and Austria, Col- 
onel Pettigrew at once arranged his private business and 
hastened to obtain position in the army under General Mar- 

His application to Count Cavour was favorably received, 
but after consideration his offer was declined on the ground 
that the event of the battle of Solferino had rendered further 
fighting improbable. He was greatly disappointed, as his 
reception had inspired him with hopes of seeing active service 
in the Sardinian army with rank, at least as high as that of a 
colonel. Availing himself, however, of his unexpected 
leisure, he revisited Spain, and after a stay of a few months 
returned to South Carolina. The fruits of this second visit 
were collected by him into a volume entitled Spain and 
Spaniards, which he printed, for the inspection of his friends, 
in 1860. It will be found to be a thoughtful, spirited, and 
agreeable record of his impressions of that romantic land. At 
the opening of the present war, Colonel Pettigrew, as aid to 
Governor Pickens, took a prominent part in the operations at 
Charleston. He was at that time also colonel of a rifle regi- 
ment, in which he was much interested, and which became 
conspicuous amongst the military organizations around 
Charleston in the winter of 1860-'61. As commander of 
this body he received the surrender of Castle Pinckney, and 
subsequently held himself in readiness to storm Fort Sumter, 
in case it had not been surrendered after bombardment. Later 
in the spring, having failed to procure the incorporation of 
his regiment into the army of the Confederate States, and 
believing there was little chance of seeing active service in 
South Carolina, he transferred himself to Hampton's legion 
as a private, and early in the summer accompanied that corps 
into Virginia. A few days afterwards he was recalled to the 
service of his native State by an unsolicited election as Colonel 
of the Twelfth Regiment of North Carolina volunteers, after- 
wards the Twenty-second Regiment of North Carolina troops. 
It had been Colonel Pettigrew's earnest wish to become con- 
nected with the North Carolina army, so he at once accepted 
the honorable position, and repaired to Raleigh, where his 



regiment was stationed in its canip of instruction. He de- 
voted his attention to its discipline with great assiduity, and 
in the early days of August was ordered into Virginia. The 
fall and winter of 1861 were spent by him near Evansport, 
upon the Potomac. He gave his whole time and attention to 
perfecting his regiment in the duties of soldiers. He fully 
shared in every hardship that was incident to their situation. 
In this new position Colonel Pettigrew became conspicuous for 
another characteristic necessary to eminent success in every 
department, but especially in that of military life. He was 
an adept in the art of personally attaching to him the men 
under his charge. Their enthusiasm knew no bounds. Their 
confidence in his administration of the police of the camp was 
perfect, and their assurance of his gallantry and skill un- 
qualified. He soon felt that he might rely upon his brave 
men for all that was possible to soldiers. Being offered pro- 
motion to the rank of brigadier, he declined it on the ground 
that it would separate him from his regiment. Sometime 
later, in the spring of 1862, an arrangement was made by 
which the Twelfth Regiment was included in the brigade that 
was tendered to him, and he no longer felt any difficulty in 
accepting the promotion. 

General Pettigrew shared in the march under General. 
Johnston into the Peninsula, and afterwards, in the retreat 
upon Richmond. On the first day of June, 1862, in the 
battle of Seven Pines, he was severely wounded by a ball 
which, passed transversely along the front of his throat and so 
into the shoulder, cutting the nerves and muscles which 
strengthen the right arm. This occurred in a charge which 
he led with great gallantry. He was left upon the field for 
dead, and recovered his consciousness only to find himself in 
the hands of the enemy. Some weeks later his exchange was 
effected, and being still an invalid, he was placed in command 
at Petersburg. The exigencies of the service having required 
his regiment to be transferred to another brigade, he found, 
upon his return, that it had been placed under the gallant, 
and now, alas! lamented, General Pender. By degrees a new 
brigade assembled around General Pettigrew, and such was 
his pains in its instruction, and such the desire among the 


North Carolina soldiers to make part of his command, that 
by the close of the year he was at the head of a brigade which, 
in point of quality, numbers, and soldierly bearing, was equal 
to any in the army. He commanded this brigade in repelling 
the Federal raid into Martin county, late in the fall of 1862, 
and again in General Foster's expedition against Goldsboro, in 
December, 1862, and although the quick dexterity of the 
enemy in falling back did not upon either occasion afford him 
and his associates an opportunity of trying conclusions with 
them, yet, upon both occasions the magnificent appearance of 
Pettigrew's Brigade tended greatly to revive the spirit of a 
community recently overrun by the enemy. He was also with 
General D. H. Hill during the spring of this year, in his 
attempt upon Washington in this State; and in the very bril- 
liant affair at Blount's Creek gave the public a taste of what 
might be expected from his abilities when untrammeled by 
the orders of a superior. 

At the time of General Stoneman's raid on the north of 
Richmond, General Pettigrew was ordered to the protection 
of that city, and shortly afterwards took position at Hanover 
Junction. His brigade subsequently made part of the Army 
of Northern Virginia, and accompanied General Lee into 
Pennsylvania. At the battle of Gettysburg he was in com- 
mand of Heth's Division, and won many laurels. His divis- 
ion was greatly cut up. The loss of his brigade in killed 
and wounded was so heavy as almost to destroy its organiza- 
tion. He himself was wounded by a ball which broke one of 
the bones of his hand. He regarded it so little as not to 
leave the field. Moving afterwards with General Lee to 
Hagerstown and the Potomac, it devolved upon General Petti- 
grew, on the night of the 13th and the morning of the 14th 
of July, to assist in guarding the passage of that part of the 
army which recrossed at Falling Waters. About nine o'clock 
in the morning of the latter day, having been in the saddle 
all night, General Pettigrew and other officers had thrown 
themselves upon the ground for a few moment's rest, when a 
party of Federal cavalry rode into their midst. In the melee 
which ensued, General Pettigrew was shot, the ball taking 
effect in the abdomen and passing through his body. When 


the enemy had been repulsed, lie was taken up by his sorrow- 
ing soldiers and carried across the river some seven miles into 
Virginia, along the track of the army. Upon the next day 
he was carried some fifteen miles further, to the house of Mr. 
Boyd at Bunker Hill, where he received every attention of 
which his situation allowed. Upon General Lee's expressing 
great sorrow for the calamity, he said that his fate was no 
other than one might reasonably anticipate upon entering the 
army, and that he was perfectly willing to die for his country. 
To the Kev. Mr. Wilmer he avowed a firm persuasion of the 
truths of the Christian religion, and said that in accordance 
with his belief he had, some years before, made preparations 
for death, adding, that otherwise he would not have entered 
the army. He lingered until the 17th, and then at twenty- 
five minutes after six in the morning, died, quietly and with- 
out pain. The expression of sympathy for his sad fate was 
universal. Private soldiers from other commands, and dis- 
tant States, vied with his own in repeated inquiries after his 
condition. Upon its way to Raleigh, his body was received 
by the authorities and by the citizens everywhere with all 
possible respect and attention. On the morning of Friday, 
the 24th of July, the coffin, wrapped in the flag of the 
country, and, adorned with wreaths of flowers and other 
tributes of feminine taste and tenderness, lay in the rotunda 
of the Capitol, where, within the year, had preceded him his 
compatriots, Branch and Anderson. Later in the day the 
State received his loved and honored remains into her bosom. 
It was a matter of great gratification to JSTorth Carolina 
when this son, after an absence of a few years, gladly returned 
to her service. She views his career in arms with a just 
pride. She will ever reckon him among the most precious of 
her jewels; and will hold him forth as the fittest of all ex- 
emplars to the coming generations of her young heroes. Chief 
among his triumphs will it be reckoned that in the midst of his 
elevation and of the high hopes which possessed his soul, he so 
demeaned himself as to secure a place, hallowed by grief, in 
many an humble heart throughout North Carolina. His 
name is to be pronounced reverently and with tears by the 
winter fireside of many a hut; and curious childhood will beg 


to have often repeated the rude stories in which soldiers shall 
celebrate his generosity, his impartiality, his courtesy, and 
his daring. It is true that many eyes which flashed with en- 
thusiasm as their favorite urged his gray horse into the thick 
of the battle, are forever dull upon the fatal hills of Pennsyl- 
vania; but this will render his memory only the more dear to 
the survivors; what of his fame was not theirs originally, they 
will claim to have inherited from the dead around Gettysburg. 
If this story has been properly told, little remains to be said 
by way of comment. A young man of very rare accomplish- 
ments and energy, fitted equally for the cloister of the scholar 
and for the field of battle, has been snatched from our midst. 
Admirably qualified to be of assistance to the country as a 
soldier or as a statesman, General Pettigrew has been suddenly 
removed at the very commencement, as it were, of his career. 

Ostenclent terris hunc tantum fata, neque ultra 
Esse sinent. 

Although what he has achieved is sufficient for fame, that 
which impresses the observer most forcibly is that such vast 
preparation should, in the course of Providence, be defeated 
of an opportunity for display at all commensurate with what 
seemed its reasonable requirements. Under the circumstances, 
his death looks like a prodigious waste of material. It adds a 
striking illustration to that class of subjects which has always 
been popular in poetry and in morals, whether heathen or 
Christian. It appears very clearly that the Ruler of all things 
is under no necessity to employ rare talents and acquirements 
in the course of His awful administration, but, in the crisis of 
great affairs, can lay aside a Pettigrew with as little concern 
as any other instrument, even the meanest. 

Upon some fitting occasion, no doubt, his friends will see 
that the public is furnished with a more suitable and detailed 
account of the preparation he had made to do high service to 
his generation. It will then be better known that no vulgar 
career of ambition, and no ordinary benefit to his country, 
had presented itself to him as worthy of the aims and endow- 
ments of James Johnston Peitigrew. 


Mrs. Spencer's sketch was written in 1863 and published 
in the Fayetteville Observer. It will also be found in her 
Last Ninety Days of the War, as an appendix. Other 
sketches since written may have added opinions, but very few 

The stranger may ask, What has this young man done that 
he should be placed by the side of Davie, Macon, Murphy, 
Badger, and Ruffin? In intellectual grasp he was the equal 
of any of them probably the superior of all. As an original 
thinker, as a practical investigator in new and untried fields, 
it does not appear what he might have been. 

He was on the crest of the highest wave of Southern valor 
and patriotism as it swept over the mountains of Pennsylvania. 

In Longstreet's assault, in the third day's fight at Gettys- 
burg (which some Virginia historians, with amusing vanity, 
call " Pickett's charge "), Pettigrew's command, Heth's Divis- 
ion, bore the brunt of the enemy's resistance. Five of the 
North Carolina regiments following Pettigrew had more men 
killed than Pickett's fifteen. His own brigade (four regiments 
at Gettysburg) carried into Longstreet's assault about four- 
teen hundred and eighty men; its loss in killed and wounded 
was four hundred and forty-five. 

This same brigade, Pettigrew in command, held the pivot 
of the first day's fight, but at a fearful cost. Out of the 
twenty-two hundred engaged it lost six hundred and sixty 
killed and wounded. 

In this brigade was the famous Twenty-sixth North Caro- 
lina Regiment, under Harry K. Burgwyn, which lost in the 
first day's fight five hundred and eighty-eight men killed and 
wounded out of a total of eight hundred and in Longstreet's 
assault one hundred and twenty of the remnant, the greatest 
loss and the greatest percentage of loss of any regiment in 
either army in any battle during the Civil War. Its gal- 
lant colonel (Burgwyn) was among the last of fifteen color- 
bearers who fell with the flag in their hands. 


In the first day's fight Pettigrew was engaged with the 
famous "Iron Brigade," in which was the Twenty-fourth 
Michigan, facing the Twenty-sixth North Carolina in the open 
field at close range, gradually getting closer as the Federals 
slowly retired through field and woods for an hour and a half, 
until finally, and before the Twenty-fourth broke, they were 
within one hundred feet of each other, at which range they 
continued for twenty or thirty minutes. Captain J. J. Davis 
(afterwards Associate Justice of our Supreme Court) was an 
eye-witness and participant. He says: " The advantage was 
everywhere with the Confederate side, and T aver that this 
was greatly, if not chiefly, due to Pettigrew's Brigade and its 
brave commander. The bravery of that knightly soldier and 
elegant scholar, as he galloped along the line in the hottest of 
the fight, cheering on his men, cannot be effaced from my 

After this frightful day's work he was chosen to lead 
Heth's Division in Longstreet's assault. And though 
wounded in this assault by a grape-shot through his hand, 
he it was who, on the retreat of Lee's army, was chosen to 
command the rear guard, which consisted of his own shattered 
brigade and another. This was the duty that Napoleon 
assigned to Marshal Ney, " the bravest of the brave." And 
it was in the discharge of this duty that Pettigrew lost his life. 

Dr. W. H. Lilly, of Concord, N. C., an eye-witness and the 
physician who was with General Pettigrew when he got his 
death-wound, at my request gives me a short account taken 
from his diary kept at the time : 

" General Pettigrew was carrying his wounded hand in a 
sling . . . On the night of July 13th we started on our march 
to the river. It was raining, and very dark, so that we pro- 
ceeded very slowly. On the morning of the 14th, General 
Pettigrew, with his and General Archer's Brigades, was left as 
rear guard while the wagons and artillery were crossing the 


river on the pontoon bridge. While our men were lying down 
a large body of cavalry appeared in our rear. A squadron 
from the main body came riding up to our line. They were 
at first thought to be our men retiring before the main body 
of the advancing enemy. When near us a small United 
States flag was recognized, and they were in our midst before 
we fired on them. General Pettigrew's horse threw him, as 
he had only the use of one hand. He then began to snap his 
pistol at one of them, who turned and shot him in the ab- 
domen. The General's pistol did not fire, as the powder was 
wet from the heavy rain. Nearly the entire squadron was 
killed or captured. We put General Pettigrew on a stretcher 
and carried him over the river at once. I advised him to 
remain in a house, and assured him that his only chance for 
life was in his being entirely quiet. He refused, saying he 
would rather die than fall into the hands of the enemy. We 
brought him in an ambulance to Bunker Hill and put him 
into Mr. Boyd's house, where he died at 6:30 A. M. on the 
morning of July lYth." 

Why was it that this young man (who rarely went into a 
fight that he did not get hit) was preferred for responsible 
and dangerous commands before the officers trained at West 
Point? He had the genius for war and the spirit of a hero- 

In the blood of his crucified cause was written the mightiest 
protest ever filed for the judgment of posterity against the 
class legislation, the centralization and the aggrandizement of 
the General Government in copartnership with the preferred 
and protected States a copartnership out of which has been 
spawned a still more unholy alliance with the corporations 
and moneyed institutions which have their roots in those 
States and in foreign countries. 

Not in blood, we hope, but nevertheless bravely and patri- 
otically, let the young men of this day and generation strive to 


free our Union from the domination of domestic traitors and 
entangling alliances with foreign foes. 

I have selected two short extracts from his book, Spain and 
the Spaniards, as giving a hint of his style and habits of 
thought. The book was intended for private circulation 
among his friends, and was written, doubtless, with the usual 
speed of young authors. It indicates considerable learning 
and research, but its arrangement is somewhat crude and its 
style not always sufficiently careful and clear. One might 
well wish that he had devoted his life to literature, but his 
talents were so varied and versatile it is hard to say where he 
would have most excelled. 


"All this talk (that our western civilization and govern- 
ment is nothing but a development of English ideas) is begin- 
ning to make the Europeans believe that we consider our- 
selves under some obligations to sympathize with and sustain 
Anglo-Saxonism, the real truth being that there is a far greater 
sympathy between the Erench and us than between their 
neighbors and us. We are essentially democratic; they ablmr 
and detest the idea. The most miserable creature in Eng- 
land would spurn liberty if accompanied by equality; for he 
thinks there must be some poor devil, more miserable than 
himself, over whom he can tyrannize. AVe acknowledge and 
are in favor of securing to every one his just rights in the 
political system; whereas, exactly the contrary holds in the 
Anglo-Saxon, w T ho follows the old parable of giving to him 
that hath and taking from him that hath not even that which 
he hath. The universal tendency is to yield power to those 
above and to keep the lower class pressed to the earth. I, 
therefore, see little to justify the attempt of Mr. Bright to 
transplant our institutions into England. He forgets that the 
Americans it is useless to investigate the causes why are a 
race of higher and more delicate organization, and can be en- 


trusted with liberty because they can appreciate it. The com- 
mon Englishman would only covet the privilege of suffrage 
in order that he might sell his vote at its market value. He 
needs a sort of master, and delights in having one. Universal 
suffrage in England, with due submission, seems to me the 
craziest idea that ever entered into the brain of a statesman. 
But Mr. Bright has a meagre following, for the English people 
know themselves too well to indulge in such a Utopian experi- 
ment. Not content with this, they kindly volunteer to lecture 
us upon the errors of our system of society for it is a differ- 
ence of society as well as of government and pronounce 
republicanism a failure because we prefer to confine govern- 
ment within the strictest limits necessary for the objects of its 
institution, and perhaps find King Log more suitable for the 
purpose than King Stork. Even Mr. Macaulay has favored 
us with a " preachment," founded upon such a strange con- 
fusion as "to seem to belie the aphorism that history is wisdom 
teaching by experience, and that its votaries should conse- 
quently be the wisest of statesmen. England is a conglom- 
eration of monopolies. The land is a monopoly of a few 
thousands; the government of a few hundreds. The whole 
number of capitalists does not exceed a few millions. All 
below is a toiling, ignorant, vicious, discontented multitude, 
who know not one week where they will find bread for the 
next. Such is their system, and were America like England, 
Mr. Macaulay would be justifiable in supposing the cause of 
republicanism hopeless. But what class in America, enjoys 
a monopoly of the pleasures of life? Is not every avenue open 
to the most unfriended capacity? Do not all receive the 
benefits of education? Can not, and have not, the poorest 
boys occupied the Presidential chair? Have our great states- 
men, our millionaires, been, for the most part, the children of 
even competency? Owing to the equality which reigns 
throughout our ideas and institutions, is it not in the power of 
every honest laborer to make provision against the contin- 
gencies of old age, and do not most of them make such pro- 
vision? Whence, then, is to come this army of grim, de- 
spairing, famished workmen, who, having nothing, hoping 
nothing, without past or future, are to wage an eternal war- 


fare against the order of society? Is there, then, no middle 
ground between a savorless communism and the despotism of 
capital? Are there no checks and balances in nature? Do 
freedom, equality, education, an honorable inculcation of in- 
dustry effect nothing? It is provoking to hear such solemn 
inconsequences from a really great man. 

The disposition, too, to place a money value upon every- 
thing, the real cause of their difficulties, is peculiar to the 
Anglo-Saxons, and an anomaly in the present age of the 
world. In the military profession, where, of all others, indi- 
vidual merit should be the sole passport to distinction, com- 
missions are still bought and sold. Throughout the country 
money is imperatively required for every position of eminence. 
The records of the House of Lords contain the strange case of 
a duke who was expelled for no other crime than his poverty. 
Men of the first abilities are deterred from accepting the peer- 
age because they have not amassed money enough to save 
them from the humiliating and disgraceful position of a poor 
gentleman. We Americans like money, not because it is 
money, or because it brings position or respect, but because it 
gratifies bodily desires. It would be thought an astonishing 
thing with us if the Presidential Electors were to inspect the 
pockets of the candidate rather than his head and his heart; 
or if, in 1848, Mr. Cass had been recommended on account of 
his wealth, or General Taylor had sold out his commission- 
things perfectly consonant with Anglo-Saxon ideas. Yet the 
greatness of England is clue in considerable part to this very 
state of affairs, and any attempt to alter it may involve the 
downfall of her power. The natural rulers are the aristoc- 
racyand the Anglo-Saxon gentleman is certainly one of the 
best qualified persons in Europe to govern Anglo-Saxons 
but all below bear the impress of an inferior class, a strange 
combination of servility with tyranny. That there should be 
any real sympathy between the great body of the two nations 
is as little to be desired as expected. 

Having thus spoken of the want of sympathy between us 
in the weaker points of character, justice requires me to con- 
fess that there is an equal absence of resemblance in the vir- 
tues. The Englishman certainly does possess bulldog courage. 


His officers may be ignorant of the science of war, but he, 
nevertheless, fights to the last, nor is he subject either to the 
exhilaration of success or the depression of defeat. He is con- 
servative by nature and abhors humbugs and humbuggery. 
The middle classes, and particularly the country gentleman, 
are worthy of their position. The men of this rank are true 
and the women virtuous. Reserved in intercourse and un- 
amiable toward their own countrymen, they seem to be cour- 
teous to foreigners and even to each other when the social 
barrier is broken through; but these do not compose the na- 
tion. In discussing national relations it is not the merits and 
demerits of one class alone that are to be considered, but the 
bearing of the whole. 

The increase of steam and the facility of communication 
and the little leaven of Anglo-Saxonism unfortunately left 
among us, has of late years caused many Americans to look 
up to England as the mother country, as the phrase goes. 
Though, perhaps, not one in ten of those who use the expres- 
sion so frequently has any great amount of the much prized 
fluid in his veins. The manner in which the homage is 
received beyond the water depends very much upon the state 
of relations with France. As the one goes up, the other goes 
down. The difference between the conduct of the English 
toward America now, and its conduct in 1850, is aston- 
ishing. Then Erance was torn internally, scarcely able to 
maintain domestic tranquillity, and powerless for any offensive 
action. Europe was just beginning to stagger weakly along, 
as if- from a bed of sickness. England and Russia, alone, of 
the great powers, had stood the storm unbent. Under this 
state of things America was a presumptuous youngster, to be 
snubbed upon every opportune occasion. The Yankees (as 
they persist in calling the whole nation) were described in 
Europe as lank, nasal-twanging barbarians, very good for 
accumulating money and manufacturing wooden nutmegs, 
but worthy only of a place in the kitchen of the civilized 
world. The Brussels-carpeted parlor, Christendom, was not 
to be defiled with their presence. The newspapers never 
wearied of ringing the changes upon American shortcomings. 
Our self-government and liberty were held up as empty bub- 


bles on the point of bursting. The plain and unflattering 
truth being that the English have a profound contempt for us, 
and it is impossible to blame them for it, when we remember 
the servility and utter abnegation of manhood that charac- 
terize so many of us in the presence of a live lord. They have 
eagerly embraced every opportunity of kicking and cuffing 
us, yet we whine at their feet; how could they do otherwise 
than despise us? Since that time, however, certain changes 
have taken place in the world. The distracted French 
Republic has given way to a powerfully organized empire, 
with a chief capable of planning, and an army and navy capa- 
ble of executing any enterprise, however gigantic. The fiv-t 
warning given of this change was in 1851, on the Greek ques- 
tion, when the President of the French Republic checked 
Lord Palmerston, and gave England to understand that her 
course of proceeding in foreign domineering must be altered 
or a war with France would follow in a fortnight. We all 
remember the salutary effect of that warning, and Palmer- 
ston's capital " bottle-holding " speech. The doctrine of a bal- 
ance of power upon the ocean as well as the land has been again 
spoken of in high places. The ghost of Waterloo, from being 
a source of unmingled pride and gratification and boasting, 
has come to cause as many terrors as that of Banquo. An un- 
expected consequence has been that the manner of speaking of 
America has altered apace. It is " our cousins beyond the 
water " now, and " Brother Jonathan." An American is ap- 
pealed to and asked whether he will allow r the " mother 
country ' ' to be crushed, the " Protestant religion to be de- 
stroyed," etc. All this happened before, and if the govern- 
ment of Louis Napoleon were supplanted by a weak mon- 
archy, the present good feeling of " our dear cousins " would 
disappear as rapidly as their fears. 

In truth, opposition to the advancement of the United 
States, whether material or intellectual, is the normal con- 
dition of England. We have suffered from it ever since 
the foundation of our government, and will continue to do so, 
except when the fear of invasion causes a temporary change 
in her policy; for selfishness, an utter, unholy and inconceiv- 
able desire to sacrifice the happiness and prosperity of every 


other country to her own even most trifling advantage, is her 
invariable rule of action. The English quarrel among them- 
selves about the length of a bishop's gown, or the cut of a 
guardsman's hat, or great constitutional questions, but there 
is never a difference of action on this point; and any states- 
man who dared raise a voice in behalf of justice and honor in 
foreign relations could not be returned from a single constitu- 
ency in England. Witness poor Bright and Cobden in the 
Chinese war. Woe to any nation that trusts her friendship. 


About nine o'clock in summer, the whole of Seville issues 
forth to enjoy the evening air on the Plaza Isabel, which is 
the favorite promenade at that hour. So, following the cur- 
rent, I found myself in a large parallelogram, surrounded by 
stately buildings in the modern style, and half-filled with an 
innumerable throng of all classes, some seated, some walking. 
Most of the men were smoking and most of the women fan- 
ning themselves, with occasional intermixtures of conversa- 
tion; but the great occupation of every one is to look and be 
looked at 

A public promenade is indispensable to every Spanish city, 
however small, and every Spaniard is sure to pass there some 
portion of the week. Particularly is this the case in Anda- 
lusia and Valencia. The unbroken clear weather, continuing 
during a large part of the year, converts the occasional con- 
stitutional stroll into a daily habit, and an afternoon or even- 
ing walk is as much a matter of course as attendance at mass. 
Fortunately for strangers, they have thus, during spring and 
summer, an opportunity for seeing a considerable portion of 
the population without the necessity of resorting to letters of 
introduction, which involve the sacrifice of more time than a 
passing traveler can spare. Seville is the city where this, 
as all other national customs, is seen in its greatest perfec- 

The night was Spanish, and who can describe the glories 
of a Spanish summer night on the banks of the Guadalquivir? 


The mellow lustre of the moon seemed to have overflowed the 
earth, and the blue vault of heaven had given even to the 
stone buildings around an appearance of liquid silver. It 
was as though the air itself had a visible tangible substance, 
and we were floating upon the bosom of an enchanted ocean. 
The lamps served but for ornament, and stood like little 
points of burnished gold. Not a cloud obscured the sky. 
Odoriferous breezes from the south wafted gently over, as if 
fearing to embrace too roughly the fair cheeks that sought 
their wooing. A quadruple row of chairs offered repose to 
the indolent or weary, and from time to time some young 
lady would take compassion upon a score of admirers, by 
remaining where all might approach within sound of her 
voice; but the more interesting part of the assemblage was 
generally to be found on the promenade. 

The beauty of Spanish women has ever been a subject of 
admiration to all who are endowed with a perception of the 
lovely. Yet, while acknowledging its irresistible power, there 
is nothing so difficult as to explain the fascination which it 
exercises; for, unlike the rest of their sex, the daughters of 
Andalusia owe nothing to those artificial processes which may 
be said to form a part of the female education elsewhere. 
Their taste in dress is excellent, when combined with sim- 
plicity, as is generally the case; for they have by nature very 
little disposition to the variety of colors, which appears to be 
the ruling passion of Parisian circles. The universal costume 
in winter, and the usual one out of doors in all seasons, is a 
dark colored skirt called a basquina, fitting close around the 
waist and extending to the feet, which are thus concealed. It 
is sometimes kept in place by leaden pellets affixed to the 
border. The same innate sense of delicacy, or, perhaps, an 
intuitive knowledge of the weakness of men in believing no 
charms equal to hidden charms, preserves them from those 
fearful exposures of neck and shoulders, which so shocked the 
Japanese. A delicate satin slipper encases a foot that would 
not crush a daisy. From the top of the comb, if one be worn, 
gracefully fall the mantilla's folds across a gently budding 
breast, where it is confined by the fingers of the wearer's left 
hand, or at times the veil is thrown forward over the face. 


From the hair, massed above the temples, stealthily peeps 
a rose, as if hesitating to venture its humble beauties beside 
such loveliness. Two curls guedejas, caracoles de armor- 
bear it company. A fan completes her costume. Thus 
armed, the maids of the Guadalquivir go forth to conquer the 

The use of the black veil seems traditional in Spain, since 
it is mentioned by the Roman geographers as a part of the 
ancient costume existing in those provinces which had not 
fully adopted the dress of the conqueror; and they describe 
it as frequently thrown forward over the face in the same 
style. . . . The mantilla is peculiarly becoming to the 
Spanish style of features, while the French hat presents the 
most odious and hideous contrast conceivable; the former lends 
additional attractions; the latter destroys those which already 
exist. One may be insensible to everything else, but the 
mantilla is irresistible. A basquina, a Cinderella slipper, a 
mantilla or a veil, a rose and a fan, are all that any Andaluza 
needs to bring the world to her feet. 

But the fan! the magic fan! who shall describe its won- 
derful powers? Who can sound the depths of its mysteries? 
Every movement of this potent wand is fraught with happiness 
or misery. In their hands it positively speaks, and its gentle 
recognitions are far more winning than any assertions of the 
tongue. It is said to have a language, a sort of alphabet of its 
own, but that is doubtful. Its utterances are of the magnetic 
character, which need no interpretation, and are felt rather 
than learnt. The art of managing it was always to me an 
unfathomable science, and though I embraced every oppor- 
tunity of becoming a proficient, and actually took two formal 
lessons, I failed utterly of success. It must be said, however, 
that my instructor had learnt by intuition, but unfortunately 
was not able to teach by the same method. I was always 
told there was only one way of opening it, yet there are cer- 
tainly five, for the theory is almost as difficult as the practice. 
But having, by dint of hard study, acquired, as you fondly 
imagine, the requisite theoretical knowledge, you desire to see 
it embodied in action. Your instructor shows how the fingers 
are placed. You are then told to do "so"; whin-! goes the 


fan, and it is all over before jour eyes have caught the first 
movement. A gentleman present at my discomfiture, con- 
soled me by saying that he would not respect a man who 
could acquire the art; that in men's hands it was a practical 
instrument for putting the air in motion. The ladies cer- 
tainly do not so regard it. 

I had been apprehensive lest this costume, rendered so 
poetical by the descriptions of travelers and the dreams of 
romancers, were not the true secret of the admiration which 
I had formerly carried away across the Pyrenees, and that it 
was a reflected, semi-poetic, semi-romantic, at all events, un- 
substantial conception. Such is not the case. On the present 
occasion the prevailing color, in accordance with the season 
was white, and the mantilla was replaced by a simple lace veil, 
so that there is certainly some external attraction independent 
of dress. I attribute it to the combination of personal beauty, 
such as the world cannot surpass, with a grace of movement, 
an innate, inalienable elegance of manner, which no educa- 
tion can give and no words describe. An Andaluza is born, 
not made. Not too tall and never dumpy (horrible word), 
her person is so exquisitely proportioned that, without some 
measure of comparison, you would form no opinion as to her 
real size. An elegant fullness preserves her alike from the 
scrawny penury of the English or the corpulency of the Ital- 
ians. Her lofty brow justifies her sparkling wit, and the deli- 
cate organization of her feelings and intellect is in harmony 
with the finely chiseled features. Luxuriant masses of dark 
glossy hair, parted slightly on one side, and nobly arched eye- 
brows, are a fit setting to a rich southern complexion, not of 
sickly yellow, but of a clear olive tinge, through which the 
timid blood, with every emotion, mantles to the surface. The 
pride of her beauty is the large, lustrous, almond-shaped, vel- 
vety eye, half covered with silken lashes, as if to screen her 
admirers from the danger of being consumed; but when 
aroused into activity, flashing forth pride, interest, inexhaust- 
ible love, with a fire more irresistible than that of a thousand 
suns. Then it is that, with an imperious wave of the fan, she 
bids you plunge into a maelstrom of vipers, and you obey. 

There is a widely diffused, but very erroneous belief among 


us that every Spaniard has perforce black eyes and a dark 
complexion. Such is far from being true, even in Andalusia. 
Ladies of the better class, who are not exposed to the sun or 
wind, have beautifully clear complexions, though brunette. 
In Honda, blue eyes form the majority, and they are by no 
means uncommon in other provinces. But the Spanish blonde 
is still a Spaniard, and her type of beauty very different from 
the insipid combination which often passes under that name 
in the north. There is the same smothered fire, the same 
deep expression in the eye, the same richness of complexion, 
which, in union with raven tresses, form an exquisite picture. 
Light-haired persons, rubias, are rarer, and of course much 
admired to look at, though every one falls in love with their 
dark-haired rivals. Of the luxuriance and elegance of their 
hair the ladies are justly proud, and no pains are spared to 
render it as beautiful as possible. The time devoted to this 
object is sacred in all classes, and if, in response to an inquiry 
or request, the ominous reply is heard, "liombre! estamos 
ocupadas con el pelo" it is useless to remain. Nothing short 
of another invasion of the Moors could arouse them. During 
the civil war, Zumalacarregui, or Merino, for it is narrated of 
both, placed death for the men and loss of their hair for the 
women, upon the same footing, and found them equally effi- 
cacious punishments. 

Spanish girls are taught to walk gracefully, too, as all girls 
should be, and since the narrowness of the streets prevents the 
general use of carriages, and the arms of gentlemen are seldom 
offered, and never accepted, they avoid falling into the totter- 
ing shuffle, which is produced by the opposite customs. The 
walk of the Seville ladies is something peculiar to Andalusia. 
That they take steps is firmly believed because required by the 
anatomical construction of mankind, but in their case the 
belief is the result of induction, not of ocular perception. 
They glide over the earth as though supported by unseen 
hands, and disappear from your sight ere you can believe that 
they are actually moving. 

The Andalusian foot is a marvel, both for size and beauty. 
A lady will wear with ease the slipper of an ordinary girl of 
fourteen. If any artificial means are used, the pressure must 

PETTIG-REw's BOOK. 43;") 

be very slight, as the appearance is perfectly natural, not- 
withstanding the fact that they seldom adopt any other moan- 
of locomotion. The development of the English understand- 
ing is a subject of perpetual wonderment on the Guadalquivir, 
where they are accustomed to compare its covering to a twelve- 
oared boat. 

The graceful walk of the Sevillians is not more peculiar to 
them than the noble carriage of the head, due, doubtless, in 
some degree, to the absence of those fragile yet cumbrous 
ornaments which force others to assume a stiff and constrain^! 
position. It gives them an air of haughtiness by no means 
disagreeable, however, as you are quite ready to admit their 
unapproachable superiority before they assert it, Every An 
daluza has two points of beauty fine eyes and hair. Then 
she may have a good complexion, and she is almost certain to 
be graceful. If to these she unite wit and cultivation, who are 
so daring as to deny her preeminence? Progress, perhaps 
mere change, is desirable in many things in Spain, but that 
Heaven may preserve her fair daughters from the hand of 
innovation is the prayer of native and foreigner alike. It is 
scarcely possible, that the best laid schemes of any power on 
earth could effect an improvement. 



Among the glorious number of heroic spirits who laid down 
their lives for this pre-doomed undertaking [the secession of 
the Confederate States] not one was more conspicuous for 
courage and loyalty, and but few, if any, for skill and leader- 
ship, than the subject of this sketch, General William Dorsey 
Fender. He was born in Edgecombe county, N. C., on the 
6th of February, 1834, at the country home of his father, 
James Fender, Esq. His paternal ancestry is of ancient 
English stock, the name being as old as English history itself. 
The first of the family to come to America was Edwin, who, 
in the reign of Charles II., settled near Norfolk, Virginia. 
A descendant of the same name, grandfather of General 
Fender, removed from Norfolk to Edgecombe, on Town 
Creek, where he owned and died possessed of large landed 
interests and slaves. On one of these plantations, inherited 
by his father, General Fender was born. His mother was 
Sarah Routh, a sister of the mother of the late Hon. R. R. 
Bridgers, and the daughter of William Routh, Esq., of Tide- 
water, Virginia. 

General Fender lived where he was born until he was 
fifteen years of age, when he entered, as a clerk, the store of 
his brother, Mr. Robert D. Fender, in Tarboro. This em- 
ployment was distasteful to him from the first. The martial 
spirit was already strongly developed in him, and the oppor- 
tunity soon presented itself for him to begin a military educa- 
tion and training. He entered the Military Academy at 
West Point as a cadet on the first of July, 1850, having been 
recommended as a suitable candidate by the Hon. Thomas 
Ruffin, who was then the member of Congress from his dis- 
trict. The friendship of Mr. R. R. Bridgers, which lasted 
through life, procured for him the appointment. He was 
graduated in 1854, standing nineteenth in his class. In this 



class were G. AY. Custis Lee, Stephen D. Lee, J. E. B. 
Stuart and other distinguished military men. As cadet he 
was modest and unassuming in his intercourse with his fel- 
lows, respectful to his instructors and tractable to the dis- 
cipline of the institution. Upon his graduation he was 
assigned to the First Artillery as Brevet Second Lieutenant 
and the same year was made Second Lieutenant of the Second 
Artillery. In the year 1855 he was transferred, at his own 
request, to the First Regiment of Dragoons, and in 1858 was 
promoted to a first lieutenancy. From the time he entered 
the dragoons he saw service in the field in all its phases, camp, 
frontier, and scouting; fighting in JSTew Mexico, California, 
AYushington and Oregon. He was engaged in many skir- 
mishes, and in as many as three battles with the Indians one 
<>f the engagements being with the Apaches at Amalgre Moun- 
tain, on March 20, 1856; another at the Four Lakes, Septem- 
ber 1, 1858, and the other on the Spokane Plains, September 
3, 1858. He took a conspicuous part in these engagements, 
and was mentioned with credit in the reports of them. Lieu- 
tenant Lawrence Kip, in his Army Life on the Pacific, nar- 
rates the following incident which occurred at the battle of 
Spokane Plains : " Lieutenant Pender, while in the woods, 
returning from the rear, where he had been on duty con- 
nected with ordering up the balance of the troops, was sud- 
denly attacked by an Indian chief. To his dismay, the 
Lieutenant discovered that his sabre had become entangled 
in the scabbard and would not draw. Quick as thought 
one hand grasped the savage's arm, the other his neck, and 
in this manner, hugging him close and galloping into ranks, 
he lifted him from his horse and hurled him back among 
the men, who soon dispatched him." He was made Adju- 
tant of the First Dragoons November 8, 1860, and served 
with that rank, with the headquarters at San Francisco, until 
January 31, 1861, when he was detached and ordered to 
report at Carlisle, Pennsylvania, on recruiting service. 

On the 3d of March, 1859, he had married Miss Mary 
Frances Shepperd, daughter of the Hon. Augustine H. Shep- 
perd, at Good Spring, the country-seat of the bride's father, 
near Salem, Xorth Carolina. Shortly after the marriage he 


returned to his command, then in Washington Territory, 
his wife accompanying him and remaining with him until 
they returned to the east, arriving at Washington in the 
latter part of February, 1861. There they remained a. few 
days, and on the 3d of March, the day before Mr. Lincoln 
was inaugurated, they left for North Carolina. This short 
stay at Washington at this juncture was a crisis in the 
young officer's life. He had seen a sectional feeling arise 
in the army. He now found the people divided. The 
Confederate Government was already established; troops had 
been organized and drilled in the South and Fort Sumter 
invested. He was perplexed as to what he ought to do; 
whether to continue in the service of the United States or 
resign his commission; for in case of war he could not take 
part against the South, and this would be required of him 
if he held his commission in the army. He became satis- 
fied, after considering carefully the situation and observing 
closely the tendency of affairs, that war was inevitable, and 
from his knowledge of the character and temper of the two 
sections he knew the war would be a terrible one. He deter- 
mined to cast his lot with his people of the South, and on 
the 21st of March resigned his commission in the army, and 
immediately offered his services to the Confederate Govern- 
ment at Montgomery. He was appointed captain in the 
artillery service of the provisional army, but was shortly after- 
wards sent by the government to Baltimore to take charge of 
the Confederate recruiting depot at that place. 

The time has passed when the motives of the men who 
resigned their commissions in the armies of the United States 
and took service afterwards in the Confederate armies can 
be impugned. Impartial history has pronounced their con- 
duct natural, consistent, and sincere. In this connection it 
is interesting to recall a sentence from the memorable address 
of Mr. Edmunds in the United States Senate in 1883, on the 
life and character of Senator B. H. Hill: "The notion of 
fidelity to one's own State, whether her cause be thought wise 
and right or not, is almost a natural instinct; and whether it 
be defensible on broad grounds or not, who does not sym- 
pathize with it? ' : 


In the first week of May, 1861, when North Carolina be- 
gan to organize her volunteer troops, Captain Pender returned 
and entered her service at the " Old Fair Grounds," near Ral- 
eigh, Governor Ellis appointing him to drill and instruct tlic 
officers of the companies of the First Regiment the Bethel 
Regiment. After that regiment was dispatched to Virginia 
he was assigned to duty as Commandant of the Camp of In- 
struction at Garysburg, and, upon the formation there of the 
Third Regiment of Volunteers, was elected its colonel on 
the 16th of May, 1861. At this time he was twenty-seven 
years old, about five feet ten inches in height, well formed 
and straight; graceful in his carnage; with large, lustrous, 
dark eyes, dark-brown hair, an olive complexion, head 
almost faultless in shape, a month clear cut, and lips firmly 
compressed, and a voice soft, low, and distinct. The com- 
bined dignity and ease of his manner charmed all who 
came about him. The sweet modesty of his unassuming 
bearing was so striking that it won all to him; and this 
characteristic is always mentioned, even now, by those who 
knew him, as one of his most attractive charms; and it un- 
derwent no diminution in after years when he had won 
such distinguished military honors. His modest and unas- 
suming character was not always understood by those who did 
not know him well. The following is an instance: He had 
fought more than half a dozen pitched battles under Gen- 
eral Jackson before the two ever met socially. One day 
General Jackson said to Major Avery, who was well acquainted 
with them both: "What sort of a man is General Pender? 
I'm embarrassed at his never having been to see me. I 
know he is a fine soldier, gallant and skillful on the field, 
and his troops are well disciplined. I never fail to be im- 
pressed with his camps; they are always clean, orderly and 
comfortable. I've made it a rule, though, never to recom- 
mend an officer for promotion unless I have a personal and 
social acquaintance with him, and this will some day em- 
barrass me." 

However, from the beginning of his career to the end of 
it he knew the value of discipline, and though of a kind 
and gentle disposition he was firm in the management of his 


men. Throughout the entire period of his service the camps 
of his troops always showed the marks of order and system 
and the men the effects of training and discipline. 

General W. G. Lewis, in a letter to Mr. D. W. Gilliam, 
says, after noting a visit paid by himself to General Pender 
shortly after the battle of Fredericksburg : "He received me 
most cordially and courteously, and I had a very pleasant 
visit and one of profit to me, as I saw plainly in his camps 
the results of true military discipline and careful attention 
from headquarters. His camp was a model of cleanliness, 
regularity and good order; his sentinels and guard saluted 
in strict military style; all officers wore the badges of their 
rank. I was particularly struck with this, as it was not, by 
far, universal in the Army of Northern Virginia," Disci- 
pline was enforced, as he often said, for the comfort and 
safety of his men, and because the fiery gallantry of the 
Southern soldier would be uselessly expended unless it was 
systematically and scientifically directed; and he used to 
say that discipline was a. protection to the good soldier, in 
that it forced the doubtful one to the performance of his 
duty, and thus reduced the work and the peril of the former. 

Colonel Pender, with his regiment, was near Suffolk, Va., 
until after the 15th of August, 1861, when he took command 
of Fisher's famous Sixth Regiment at Manassas. He was 
appointed colonel of the Sixth by Governor Clark, on the 
unanimous petition of its officers. That appointment, at 
that time, was the highest compliment that could have been 
paid to a North Carolinian. None but those who are old 
enough to remember those days can appreciate what honor 
it was to be accounted worthy to command the men whom 
Fisher led at Manassas; though that battle was full of all 
sorts of blunders, strategical and tactical, in the Confederate 
commanders, and turned out a barren victory, the troops 
behaved admirably, and this regiment as well as the best. 

The Confederate army occupied about its original posi- 
tion near Manassas until March, 1862, when it was trans- 
ferred, under the command of General Joseph E. Johnston, 
to the Peninsula to meet McClellan's " On to Richmond ' : 
from that direction. As the Federals advanced the Confed- 


erates retired upon Richmond, taking position on the south 
side of the Chickahominy, and from two to five miles on the 
east and north of the city. In the last week in May two 
Federal corps, Keyes' and Heintzelman's, crossed flint stream 
and entrenched themselves across the Williamsbnrg stage 
road, near Seven Pines. 'General Johnston ordered the attack 
of the 31st May on the enemy's left. General Keyes, in his 
report of the battle, says: " The left of my line was all pro- 
tected by white oak swamps, but the right was on ground so 
favorable to the approach of the enemy and so far from the 
Chickaliominy that if Johnston had attacked an hour or two 
earlier than he did I could have made but a feeble defense, 
comparatively, and every man of us would have been killed, 
captured or driven into the swamps or river before assistance 
could have reached us." Owing to misunderstandings and 
jealousies between the Confederate general officers only five 
brigades of the twenty-three which were ordered for the 
attack on the enemy's left were used in that attack, and some 
of them fought knee and waist deep in mud and water in 
a white oak swamp trying to get at an enemy entrenched on 
high ground. There was great gallantry on the part of the 
Confederates, and the carnage was dreadful. General D. H. 
Hill, who made the morning attack with his division, after 
numerous repulses in and around the swamp finally carried 
the enemy's position from the front Couch's Division of 
Keyes' Corps falling back northward to and beyond Fair 
Oaks, a station on the Richmond and York River Railroad. 
From a point just outside Fair Oaks, on the north, there is 
an intersection at right angles of the Nine-Mile Road to 
Richmond and a road from Grape Vine Bridge on the 
Chickaliominy to the station. On the Grape Vine Bridge 
road, about a thousand yards from Fair Oaks, Couch's Di- 
vision halted and formed a line facing toward the south, 
information having been received that Sumner's Corps had 
crossed the river at Grape Vine Bridge and was advancing 
to the assistance of the Union troops. About 5 o'clock in the 
afternoon Colonel Pender, with his Sixth Regiment, arrived 
at Fair Oaks from toward Richmond, on the Nine-Mile road, 
in advance of Whiting's Brigade. Line of battle having 


been instantly formed facing to the south, the regiment, 
without support and under direct orders from either General 
Whiting or General G. W. Smith, went rapidly forward. 
After an advance of probably a third of a mile without com- 
ing up with the enemy, Colonel Fender discovered a large 
force of Federals in the act of forming a line from column by 
companies, near the Grape Vine Bridge road and well to his 
left and rear. They had seen him in his perilous position, 
and were preparing to capture or destroy him. There really 
seemed no chance of escape; but as quick as lightning, and 
with coolness equaling his bravery, the order " By the left 
flank, file left, double quick ! " rang out in as clear and musi- 
cal a voice as ever was heard on battlefield. The old regi- 
ment, the best drilled and disciplined in the army of Northern 
Virginia, moved as if on parade, and before the enemy had 
completed their formation it was upon them, pouring volley 
after volley into their very faces; and under the suddenness 
and fury of the attack the foe staggered and reeled, while the 
glorious soldier withdrew his men and rejoined his brigade, 
which was just coming up. Our hero was here like Jackson 
in quickness of comprehension and promptness of decision; he 
was like Soult in his tactical skill; he was like Junot in his 
fiery onslaught. There never was a more courageous and 
skillful movement made on any field. In the attack by Whit- 
ing's Brigade, which almost immediately followed upon Col- 
onel Fender's affair, the brigade was repulsed and the troops 
retired in great disorder. Colonel Froebel, of General Whit- 
ing's staff, who was present, in his report of the battle says that 
Colonel Fender reformed the broken regiments and restored 
the line by his courage and coolness. Mr. Davis was present 
and witnessed Colonel Fender's behavior, and said to him on 
the field, " General Fender, I salute you! ' General Stephen 
D. Lee thus writes: " I was on the battlefield of Fair Oaks; 
saw him (General Fender) and conversed with him before 
and after the battle. lie expressed his great satisfaction to 
me that he was literally made a general on the field of battle 
for gallant and meritorious conduct just performed, and said 
that it reminded him of such cases in European armies, where 
such recognitions of soldierly conduct were made." 


Three days afterwards lie was put in command of Petti- 
grew's Brigade (Pettigrow having been wounded and cap- 
tured), which he led through the Seven Day- 1 tight around 
Richmond. His commission as brigadier-general was handed 
to him July 22, 1862, to date from June 3. His brigade was 
composed of Xorth Carolinians, the Thirteenth, Sixteenth, 
Twenty-second, Thirty-fourth, and Thirty-eighth .Regiments, 
and General Pender commanded it until he was promoted. 

General Johnston having been severely wounded in the 
battle of the 31st, the command of the army was given to 
General Lee. Within less than a month lie concentrated 
around Richmond the largest army the Confederacy ever 
had in the field, composed of the very pick and flower of the 
South. There was little discipline in that army, but there 
were the highest personal courage and the greatest indi- 
viduality of character among the men. Its antagonist, the 
Army of the Potomac, under General McClellan, though 
possibly a little inferior in numbers, was thoroughly organ- 
ized, drilled, and equipped. On the 23d of June General 
Jackson arrived at General Lee's headquarters, having left 
his troops on the route from the Valley to join General Lee 
in a contemplated attack upon McClellan's right. It was 
agreed between the two generals that at sunrise on the morn- 
ing of the 26th Jackson's forces should attack the rear of the 
Federal position at Mechanicsville and Beaver Dam, while 
a part of Lee's army should make the attack there in front. 
On the 25th, the divisions of the two Hills moved out, A. P. 
Hill's down the Meadow Bridge and D. H. Hill's on the 
Mechanicsville road. Jackson was waited for until about 3 
o'clock of the afternoon of the 26th, when, not being heard 
from, A. P. Hill impetuously began the attack from the 
front, General Pender with his brigade being the first to 
engage. lie brushed back the enemy's advanced line to 
their main one just behind and along Beaver Dam creek. 
The position was entrenched and fortified with siege-guns, 
as well as light artillery, while the creek just in front was 
made hopelessly impassable by all manner of obstructions 
placed there for that purpose. The approach was over an 
exposed plain about three-quarters of a mile wide and down 


the slope to the creek, with no cover or protection. General 
Fender and his brave North Carolinians swept over the plain 
and down the bottom under a murderous fire of artillery and 
musketry to the brink of the creek; nothing could live under 
that fire. The line wavered and staggered back. Mr. Davis, 
who was on the field, seeing the charge and the terrible 
repulse, ordered General D. H. Hill to send one of his bri- 
gades to his assistance, and Ripley was sent. About dark, 
Fender's lines having been reformed and joined by Eipley, a 
second advance was made. Though General Fender and his 
brave Carolinians knew what was before them, and had seen 
with their eyes that the position could not be carried, yet 
they went forward with a yell, many to their deaths, and many 
more to suffer from their bloody wounds and broken limbs. 
There was no chance for Fender to show his skill here, it was 
simply a forlorn undertaking. lie obeyed orders. General 
D. II. Hill, in his article, " Lee's Attack North of the Chick- 
ahomiiiy," in Battles and Leaders of the Civil War, writing 
of Fender's attack on Beaver Dam, uses the following lan- 
guage: " The result was as might have been foreseen, a bloody 
and disastrous repulse. None of us knew of the formidable 
character of the works on Beaver Dam. Our engineers 
seemed to know little of the country and nothing of the for- 
tifications on the creek. The maps furnished the division 
commanders were worthless. The lack of knowledge of the 
topography was inexcusable. They had plenty of time. The 
Federals had been preparing for the movement all the winter, 
and McClellan's movements up the Peninsula indicated what 
position he would take up. The blood shed by the Southern 
troops was wasted in vain. They could have been halted at 
Mechanicsville until Jackson had turned the works on the 
creek, and all that waste of blood could have been avoided. 
Ripley's Brigade was sent by me to the assistance of Fender by 
the direct order of both Mr. Davis and General Lee. The 
attack on the Beaver Dam entrenchments or the heights of 
Malvem Hill and Gettysburg were all grand, but of exactly 
the kind of grandeur the South could not afford." 

The next morning only a line of skirmishers occupied the 
works on Beaver Dam, the scene of yesterday's slaughter, 


the main line, upon discovering Jackson's near presence on 
the night of the 26th, having retreated to another strongly 
entrenched position extending from Gaines's Mill to near 
Cold Harbor. The Confederates followed, Fender hugging 
the Chickahominy, and then turning off by the mill to one- 
half mile beyond Cold Harbor. Here Porter's Corps, being 
well entrenched and supported by two other divisions sent 
to his assistance, made one of the finest battles of the war, 
repulsing the Confederates many times, holding Longstreet 
and the two Hills and Jackson at bay until about night, 
when the lines were broken. A. P. Hill's Corps was the first 
to attack. General Pender and his brave soldiers did their 
full part there on that day, forgetting their terrible expe- 
rience of the day before. He was also at Frazier's Farm 
Glendale on the 30th. 

From Beaver Dam to Malvern Hill, inclusive, these battles 
were one continuous series of Confederate assaults upon en- 
trenched Union positions with unparalleled slaughter of the 
attacking columns. The Southerners lost, in killed and 
wounded, nearly twenty thousand men, the Federals not 
much more than half that number. General Longstreet, in 
Battles and Leaders of tlie Civil War, writes: " General 
Lee's plans in the seven days' fight were excellent, but very 
poorly executed." General E. P. Alexander, Chief of Ar- 
tillery of Long-street's Corps, in an article in the Southern 
Historical Society Papers on the battle of Frazier's Farm, 
writes: " As no one can go through the details of this action 
without surprise at the fatal want of concert of action which 
characterized the many gallant and bloody assaults of the Con- 
federates, it is best to say beforehand that it was but the per- 
sistent mishap of every offensive battlefield which the army 
of Northern Virginia ever fought, and that its causes were 
not peculiar to any one." 

General Pender in his official report of these battles, while 
paying full tribute to the memory of the dead, did not fail 
to confer honor on the meritorious survivors. He says of 
one of our townsmen, now a distinguished lawyer, " Lieuten- 
ant Hinsdale, my acting Assistant Adjutant-General, deserves 
the highest praise." 


Lee's shattered brigades, somewhat gotten together after 
the fights around Richmond, commenced the Maryland cam- 
paign. It was begun to get rid of McClellan around Rich- 
mond, and also to strike General Pope, who was advancing 
from Washington with another army by way of Culpeper, 
before he and McClellan could unite. 

Jackson moved off first, and finding the enemy at Cedar 
Run, or Slaughter Station, on the Rapidan, he attacked at 
once. He had his hands full, and for a time the battle 
seemed to be lost. At the supreme moment Fender came on 
the scene, and, by a beautiful flank movement, skillfully and 
energetically made, reanimated the wavering Confederate 
line, and in a general advance the enemy was beaten off the 
field. General Fender, in his official report of this battle, 
makes mention of a young soldier, then serving with him, 
who is now the accomplished editor of the News and Observer, 
in terms most complimentary: " Captain Ashe, my Assistant 
Adjutant-General, deserves notice for his conduct, being found 
almost at every point almost at the same time, cheering on 
the men." 

At second Manassas, a few days afterwards, Jackson's 
Corps received every attack of nearly the whole of the Fed- 
eral army without yielding. The fire was delivered very 
often during that day at not more than ten paces. There 
General Fender was like Ney. The all-importance of hold- 
ing the line until Longstreet should arrive was appreciated 
by him. He exposed himself 'here almost recklessly. At Ox 
Hill, or Chantilly, where General Phil. Kearney was killed, 
General Fender again led the movement. He was wounded 
here again. On these fields his superior generalship was 
conspicuously displayed. From these battles his reputation 
was established as a skillful leader. At. Winchester, Har- 
per's Ferry, and Sharpsburg he was a commanding figure, 
always in place, with his troops well in hand on the march 
and in battle. His superiors in rank in every movement con- 
fided in his skill as well as in his courage. 

The battle of Fredericksburg ended the campaign of 1862. 
In this battle General Fender received the highest encomi- 
ums for the steady and cool bravery with which he held his 



brigade under a protracted fire from artillery, the most deadly 
of the war. It was a great triumph of discipline, skill, and 
valor. He was again wounded here. 

General Longstreet spent the winter of 1862-'63 with two 
divisions of his corps at and near Suffolk, Virginia, procur- 
ing supplies in eastern North Carolina. Before he returned 
to General Lee at Fredericksburg, Hooker, who was in charge 
of the Army of the- Potomac, more than one hundred and 
twenty thousand strong, crossed the Rapidan and took posi- 
tion on Lee's left flank near Chancellorsville. The Confed- 
erate army numbered about fifty-five thousand of all arms. 
Instead of promptly pressing his advantage, Hooker delayed, 
and Lee and Jackson acted. This battle was perfect in both 
strategy and tactics, and advanced Generals Lee and Jackson 
to the forefront of military commanders. The Confederate 
soldiers could not add to their laurels already won. In this 
battle of Chancellorsville General Fender and his brigade 
made a name which will last as long as the fame of the battle 
itself. All of us are familiar with the first day's battle. 
Howard's Corps was routed by D. H. Flill's old division, com- 
manded by General Rodes. The tangled growth of the wil- 
derness and the darkness necessarily threw into great con- 
fusion the Confederate troops which had made the attack. 
While they were being reformed and reduced to order, and 
some of the brigades relieved by fresh men, the enemy, with 
great numbers, who had not been engaged, arrived, and, plac- 
ing their artillery at short range, opened fire with fatal effect. 
Everything which had been gained seemed to be lost; and, 
when it was thought that the Confederate line could not be 
held, General Jackson, after he had received his death wound, 
recognizing in the darkness General Fender, who had re- 
lieved one of Rodes' brigades, said to him: "You must hold 
your ground, General Fender, you must hold your ground, 
sir! " and he held his ground. This was General Jackson's 
last command. 

On the next morning earlv the handful of Confederates 

o / 

saw three times their numbers in a wilderness country, thor- 
oughly entrenched, waiting to receive their attack. The 
assault had to be made. Sedgwick, with his corps, was in 


rear and flank at Fredericksburg, opposed by Early, who was 
too weak to cope with him, and Hooker's main force was be- 
tween Lee and Richmond. It was a terrible day that Sun- 
day, the 3d of May, 1863. General Heth, in his official 
report of the battle, says that Fender and Thomas, the left of 
A. P. Hill's Division, opened the battle. They were repulsed 
in the first assault with great loss, but in the second charge 
they carried the day. Fender won more glory in this charge 
than any other of the heroic souls who took part in it. 

General Lee, in his official report of this battle, said: 
" General Fender led his brigade to the attack under a de- 
structive fire, bearing the colors of a regiment in his own 
hands up to and over the entrenchments with the most dis- 
tinguished gallantry." 

After the wounding of General A. P. Hill on that day, 
General Fender was put in command of that officer's division 
and was wounded late that afternoon. His own official 
report of this action proves the modesty and magnanimity 
of his great and lofty nature. He said: "I can truly say 
that my brigade fought May 3d with unsurpassed courage 
and determination. I never knew them to act universally 
so well. I noticed no skulking, and they never showed any 
hesitation in following their colors. My list in killed and 
wounded will show how manfully they fought on that glori- 
ous day. After having witnessed the fighting of nearly all 
the troops that fought on the left of the road, I am satisfied 
with my own, but by no means claim any superiority. All 
that I saw behaved as heroes." 

No wonder everybody loved and admired General Fender! 

The greatness of General Lee as a commander of armies 
is nowhere more certainly seen than in the reorganization 
and enlargement of his army after the battles of Chancel- 
lorsville. Within a month after those battles he had organ- 
ized the most effective and best disciplined army he ever 
had. Longstreet had returned, other reenforcements had 
arrived, and when the movement of his army towards the 
North was begun, on June 3, 1863, he probably had seventy- 
five thousand of all arms. In the reorganization of the 
army A. P. Hill had been decided on as a corps commander, 


and a major-general to command his division was wanted. 
On the 20th of .May, two weeks after Cliancellor.svillc, Gen- 
eral Lee wrote to Mr. Davis: "If A. P. Hill is promoted a 
major-general will be wanted for his division. Fender i.s 
an excellent officer, attentive, industrious, and brave; has 
been conspicuous in every battle, and, I believe, wounded in 
almost all of them." For a division commander of A. P. 
Hill's celebrated " Light Division," no two, or three, or more, 
are recommended for the President to choose from, but one, 
and that one AY. D. Pender. He was appointed Major-Gcn- 
eral on the 27th May, 1863, and assigned to that division 
composed of the brigades of Scales, Lane, Thomas, and 
McGowan, one week later. He was the youngest major- 
general in the Confederate army, being only twenty-nine 
years old. 

Long-street and Ewell left their camps during the first 
week in June, and arrived with Stuart and all the cavalry 
at Culpeper on the 8th. Ewell pushed on, and A. P. Hill, 
leaving Fredericksburg on the 13th, where the Federals had 
remained up to this time, passed Long-street and moved on 
to the Valley of Virginia, Longstreet protecting Hill's flank 
by moving himself along the eastern base of the Blue Ridge, 
with Stuart and his whole cavalry force in his front to w T atch 
the enemy. 

" General Stuart was left to observe the movements of the 
enemy, and to impede him as much as possible, should he 
attempt to cross the Potomac. In that event, he was directed 
to move into Maryland, on right of our column as it ad- 
vanced." (General Lee's report.) He, claiming the discre- 
tion, went off on a raid toward Washington, and thereby the 
enemy was enabled to interpose himself between the Confed- 
erate infantry and cavalry. Ewell, with his corps, advanced 
as far as Carlisle, and Longstreet and Hill were at Chambers- 
burg on the 27th June. General Lee, in his official report of 
the Pennsylvania campaign, says : " It was expected that as 
soon as the Federal army should cross the Potomac General 
Stuart would give notice of its movements, and nothing having 
been heard from him since our entrance into Maryland, it 
was inferred that the enemy had not yet left Virginia. 


Orders were therefore issued (June 27th) to move on Har- 

" On the night of the 28th news came through a scout that 
the Federal army had crossed the Potomac and the head of 
the column was at South Mountain, and this arrested the 
movement to Harrisburg." 

This advance of the enemy threatened General Lee's com- 
munications with Virginia, and he determined to concentrate 
his army on the east of the mountains. On the 29th Hill 
was ordered to Gettysburg, and Longstreet was to follow 
next day. Ewell was ordered to Cashtown or Gettysburg, 
as circumstances might require. These movements towards 
Gettysburg were not so quickly made as they would have 
been had the movements of the enemy been known. Petti- 
grew's Brigade went to Gettysburg on the morning of the 
30th to get provision, but finding it in the possession of the 
Federals, returned to Cashtown, where he rejoined Heth's 
and united with Fender's Division. Next morning the divi- 
sions of Fender and Heth and two battalions of artillery ad- 
vanced to ascertain the strength of the enemy. Heth, in the 
lead, found the enemy's videttes three miles from the town, 
they having advanced on the Chambersburg road; he drove 
them, but was in turn driven back by a superior force. 
Fender coming up at this time, the two divisions advanced and 
engaged the enemy. Rodes arrived afterwards, about 2:30 
p. M., on the Middleburg road, formed on Fender's left, at 
right angles, and Early coming up on the Heidlersburg road, 
formed quickly on Rodes' left, when a general advance was 
made, and the enemy gave way everywhere. The success 
was complete. Of General Fender's part in this battle an- 
other extract from the letter of General Lewis will be used: 
" "While we were being placed in line on a hill to join on 
Fender's left, his division drove the enemy from the woods 
on Seminary Ridge and across the open field about one-third 
of a mile wide and three-quarters long. The enemy then 
reformed behind Seminary Ridge and, with unlimited artil- 
lery, made a gallant stand, but Fender's ' Light Division,' 
with unbroken ranks, drove them from this strong position 
just as we advanced to his assistance. General Fender de- 


serves the entire credit of the victory of the battle of the tir-t 
dav at Gettysburg." 

On the morning of the 2d of July Long-street, with his 
corps, except Pickett, who had not arrived, was on the Con- 
federate right, with the Federals on Round Top and the 
adjacent hills in front; Ewell with his corps in front of Gulp's 
Hill and the north front of Cemetery Hill, and A. P. Hill 
in the center, along the western front of Cemetery Hill. 
Anderson's Division was the right of Hill's line, Fender's 
the left, and Heth's a little in rear, in reserve. At about 5 
o'clock in the afternoon Long-street attacked the Federal left 
on Round Top. Hill and Ewell were ordered to make feints 
to prevent Federal troops from being withdrawn from their 
fronts to reinforce the left, but to attack, if opportunity 
offered. It was during this attack of Longstreet that Gen- 
eral Fender received the wound which resulted in his death. 
Anderson's Division was ordered in to support Longstreet. 
Just before the advance was begun, General Fender and his 
Adjutant-General, Major Joseph A. Engelhard, and General 
W. G. Lewis, who was then Lieutenant-Colonel of the Forty- 
third North Carolina Regiment, were on the extreme left of 
Fender's line, engaged in a friendly talk, sitting on a large 
granite boulder, when suddenly the enemy's artillery opened 
upon our right. Immediately General Pencler turned to 
Major Engelhard, and said: " Major, this indicates an assault, 
and we will ride down our line." 

In Major Engelhard's official report of this we find this 
account : " Late in the afternoon, during the attack of Long- 
street and a part of Anderson's Division, General Fender 
having ridden to the extreme right to advance his division, 
did the opportunity occur, received a severe wound in the leg 
from a fragment of a shell." 

A little later, on this same afternoon, at another part of 
the field where Colonel I. E. Avery (brother of Justice A. C. 
Avery of our Supreme Court), led the brigade of that distin- 
guished soldier, General R. F. Hoke, who was absent 011 
account of a wound received at Fredericksburg, could be 
seen the Sixth Xorth Carolina (Fender's old regiment), 
under the command of Colonel Tate, now State Treasurer, 


climbing the east front of Cemetery Hill under a furious 
storm of shot and shell. The hill and its fortifications were 
taken, and the proud flag of the old regiment floated above 
the captured works, but the brave and gifted Avery yielded 
here his soul to God and his life to his country. In a plain 
plank box this hero was placed by old Elijah, his colored ser- 
vant, and by him brought along with the army on its retreat 
from the place where he fell, in a w y agon as plain as the 
coffin. The old man was seen every day on that long, weary 
march, enduring and suffering, but still devoted in his pious 
attentions; and his labors ended only when he had delivered 
his precious burden to the tender care of loved ones near the 
banks of the Potomac. 

On the retreat of the Confederates from Gettysburg, Gen- 
eral Fender took ambulance and set out for Staunton, the 
nearest railroad connection. Upon reaching that place a 
hemorrhage from his wound of an alarming character 
occurred. It was stayed, improvement followed, and the 
hopes of his friends were reassured; but in a few days, the 
hemorrhage recurring, the surgeons determined to amputate 
the limb. The operation was performed on the 18th of July. 
He survived it only a few hours. Just before the operation 
he said to his brother: " Tell my wife that I do not fear to 
die. I can confidently resign my soul to God, trusting in 
the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. My only regret is 
to leave her and our children. I have always tried to do my 
duty in every sphere of life in which Providence has placed 


The body was taken to Tarboro, North Carolina, and 
buried in the beautiful grounds around Calvary church. He 
was a member of the Episcopal communion, having been 
received as a comunicant by confirmation at the hands of 
Bishop Johns, in St. John's Church, Richmond, Va., he hav- 
ing ridden quietly into the city at night for that purpose. 

His death was a great public calamity. He combined every 
quality of the ideal soldier: courage, the power to control men, 
quickness of perception, readiness of decision, strong sense 
of justice, and modesty that excelled all. With the excep- 
tion of his great commander he had no superior in the Army 
of Northern Virginia. 


In the letter of General Lewis, heretofore referred to, 
occurs this sentence: " It was reported, and firmly believed 
throughout the Army of Northern Virginia, that General Lee 
had said that General Fender was the only officer in his army 
that could fill the place of Stonewall Jackson." 

Whether General Lee ever expressed himself in this lan- 
guage may not be proved, yet it is superlative praise to have 
the Army of Northern Virginia believe it to be so, and 
to hand it down as a tradition. As some proof of this alleged 
declaration of General Lee, it will bo appropriate to intro- 
duce some testimony from General G. C. Wharton. It is in 
the shape of an extract from a letter written from Radford, 
Va., on September 5, 1893, to James M. Norfleet, Esq., of 
Tarboro: " General Lee was preparing and about giving orders 
for the removal of the Army of Northern Virginia from the 
Valley of the Shenandoah (between Winchester and the Po- 
tomac) to the vicinity of Orange Court House. As my com- 
mand was in good condition, not having been in the forced 
marches, nor in the battle of Gettysburg, General Lee decided 
to leave my command, with some cavalry, temporarily to pro- 
tect his rear until his main force should cross the Blue Ridge 
at Manassas and other gaps and be well on the march to the 
Kapidan Valley. My orders were that after the army had 
crossed the Blue Ridge, unless too much pressed by the enemy, 
I was to retire slowly up the Shenandoah Valley, cross the 
Blue Ridge at Brown's or Williams' Gap, and rejoin the army 
(via Madison Court House) at or near Orange Court House. 
After explaining his wishes and giving the necessary orders, I 
was about leaving General Lee's headquarters, when General 
A. P. Hill, an old friend and schoolmate, rode up. After the 
usual salutations, we entered into a general conversation in 
regard to the movement of the troops and the result of the 
recent campaign in Maryland and Pennsylvania, specially in 
regard to the ill-fated battle of Gettysburg. In the course of 
conversation, General Lee said, with sadness: ' I ought not to 
have fought the battle at Gettysburg; it was a mistake.' Then, 
after a short hesitation, he added: 'But the stakes were so 
great I was compelled to play; for had we succeeded Harris- 
burg, Baltimore, and Washington were in our hands; and,' 


(with emphasis) ' we would have succeeded had Fender 
lived.' In General Lee's first report, 30th of July, 1863, of 
the battle of Gettysburg, he refers at length to the services of 
General Fender and his death, and in terms of higher praise 
than can be found, after diligent search amongst his official 
reports of battles, than he used concerning any of his fallen 
subordinates except General Jackson. In this report he says: 
" General Fender has since died. This lamented officer has 
borne a distinguished part in every engagement of this 
army, and was wounded on several occasions while leading 
his command with conspicuous gallantry and ability. The 
confidence and admiration inspired by his courage and capacity 
as an officer were only equaled by the esteem and respect en- 
tertained by all with whom he was associated for the noble 
qualities of his modest and unassuming character." 

General A. P. Hill, in his official report of the battle of the 
second day, says: "On this day, also, the Confederacy lost 
the invaluable services of Major-General W. D. Fender, 
wounded by a shell, and since dead. No man fell during this 
bloody battle of Gettysburg more regretted than he, nor 
around whose youthful brow were clustered brighter rays of 

General Fender undoubtedly made a great and lasting 
impression on General Lee. Six months after his first report 
of the battle of Gettysburg he made a full and complete one. 
Of course he thought well of what was to be his final report 
of this battle. In it he expressed himself in language con- 
cerning General Fender more complimentary, if possible, 
than that used in his first report. Here it is: " The loss of 
Major-General Fender is severely felt by the army and the 
country. He served with this army from the beginning of 
the war, and took a distinguished part in all its engagements. 
Wounded on several occasions, he never left his command 
in action until he received the injury that resulted in his 
death. His promise and usefulness as an officer were only 
equaled by the purity and excellence of his private life." 

There is no need for further panegyric. 

General Fender did not think his wound a mortal one 
when he received it, nor did his friends. His commissary, 


Major D. T. Carraway, saw him in the ambulance, and, 
though suffering from the wound, he particularly inquired 
about the quantity of commissary supplies on hand, and 
about the condition and comfort of his soldiers as minutely 
as when he was well. He knew, though, that his wound was 
a serious one, and would be long in healing; he therefore 
turned his face from the field of carnage and was driven 
towards the South. 

Ah! we know where his thoughts were then. Though as 
brave as the lion, he was yet as gentle as the lamb. He had 
often heard the wild shouts of his fierce soldiery as he led 
them, with colors in his own hands, over fields red with 
slaughter, and he had also, in the beautiful summer days 
gone by, romped and played with his little children over 
field and meadow and in grassy lawn, while the wife and 
mother looked on with beaming face. But now, sorely 
wounded and helpless, his heart turned toward her, toward 
her who was more precious to him than fame, and battle, and 

" God bless all good women to their soft hands and pity- 
ing hearts we must all come at last." 

Judge Montgomery has portrayed the character of one of 
the ablest soldiers and most attractive men that the Civil TVar 
developed. It is well that this duty fell on him to whom it 
was a labor of love, who appreciated the value of Fender's 
life, and depended upon facts rather than rhetoric to fix his 
place in history and in the hearts of his grateful countrymen. 

The remarks on the difficulties under which the South 
labored, appropriate in his Memorial Address, delivered May 
10, 1894 (of which the foregoing sketch forms the main 
part), and well considered in themselves, are not essential to 
the sketch here presented, and are therefore omitted. 



Stephen Dodson Ramseur, the second child of Jacob A. and 
Lucy M. Ramseur, had Revolutionary blood in his veins 
through John Wilfong, a hero who was wounded at King's 
Mountain and fought at Eutaw Springs. He was born in 
Lincolnton the 31st day of May, 1837. His surroundings 
were well calculated to promote a well developed character 
and a strong, self-relying manhood. His parents were mem- 
bers of the Presbyterian Church and did not neglect to see 
their son properly instructed in its religious tenets. They 
were possessed of ample means for their section, and gave to 
him the best advantages of social and intellectual improve- 
ment without his being exposed to the " devices and snares of 
the outer world." To the strong and beautiful character of his 
mother, Ramseur is said to have been indebted for the greater 
part of his success in life. In preparing the life of Dr. 
Thornwell, Rev. Dr. Palmer has asserted a truth which may 
be classed as a proverb: " The pages of history w 7 ill be searched 
in vain for a great man who had a fool for his mother." In 
writing of her, the Hon. David Schenck, who married Sallie 
Wilfong, her second daughter, says: "As a young lady she 
was said to have been beautiful and attractive. I knew 
her intimately from 1849 to her death. She was a 
woman of great force of character. To a judgment clear and 
firm she united gentleness, tenderness and sympathy. Her 
manners were easy and courteous and fascinating. She was 
an active and devoted member of the Presbyterian Church, 
and brought up her children in the teachings of the shorter 
catechism from their early youth. It was to her that Gen- 
eral Ramseur owed the mental and moral foundations of hi^ 
character." He received his preparatory training in the 
schools of Lincolnton and Milton; thence he matriculated at 
Davidson College, entered the freshman class and passed 


STEPHEN I). 457 

eighteen months at this institution. Tic curly displayed tluf 
decision of character and force of will which distinguished 
him in after life. He had an ardent longing for a military 
career, and though disappointed in his efforts to secure an 
appointment as a cadet at the United States Military Acad- 
emy, he w r as not cast down. Through the aid of General D. 
H. Hill, then a professor at Davidson, his second application 
was successful. He was given his appointment to the Acad- 
emy by that sturdy old Roman, Hon. Burton Craige, who 
before the days of rotation in office was long an able and dis- 
tinguished member of Congress from our State. Ramseur 
spent the usual term of five years at the Academy and was 
graduated with distinction in the class of 1860. Among his 
classmates of national reputation were General James H. Wil- 
son and General Merritt, Colonel Wilson, Commandant at 
United States Military Academy, and Colonel A. C. M. 

Through his courtesy, sincerity and conscientious discharge 
of his duties while at West Point he formed many valued 
friendships both among his fellow-students and in the corps. 
After graduating, Ramseur entered the light artillery service 
and was commissioned Second Lieutenant by brevet. He was 
in the United States army but a short time prior to the break- 
ing out of hostilities, and during that time was assigned to 
duty at Fortress Monroe. In April, 1861, he resigned his com- 
mission in the old army and promptly tendered his sword to 
the Provisional Government of the Confederate States, then 
assembled at Montgomery. By this government he was com- 
missioned First Lieutenant of Artillery and ordered to the de- 
partment of Mississippi. About this time a battery of artillery 
was being formed at Raleigh, whose membership was com- 
posed of the flower of the patriotic youth of the State. It was 
called " the Ellis Artillery," in honor of our then very able 
and patriotic Governor, whose early death from phthisis was 
an irreparable loss to our State in the early days of the war. 
The officers were Manly, Saunders, Guion and Bridgers, who, 
owing to our long peace establishment, were not familiar with 
even the rudiments of the drill. Therefore, with more patri- 
otism than selfish emulation, they promptly applied through 


Lieutenant Saimders to their friend the Governor for some 
suitable and reliable commander. With a pardonable pride 
in so fine a company, Governor Ellis had doubtless previously 
considered this subject in his own mind. At all events, so 
soon as the request was made known he promptly replied: 
" I have the very man. You couldn't get a better. It is 
Lieutenant Ramseur." Thereupon a dispatch was sent ten- 
dering him the command, which reached him on his way to 
his new field of duty. He accepted the unsolicited, but none 
the less coveted distinction of repelling the invasion of his 
native State in command of her own sous, and repaired at once 
to Raleigh. On arriving at the camp of instruction near this 
place, he found a first-class command of raw recruits without 
equipments or discipline or the remotest conception of the 
magnitude of the great contest before them. Many had 
joined the artillery because it was known to be one of the 
higher and mo-re attractive branches of the service. They 
concurred with Secretary Seward, that the war was a matter 
of a few months, or else with Vice-President Stephens, that 
for the defense of their firesides gentlemen should not be kept 
in camps of instruction and discipline, but permitted to 
remain at their homes, for they were capable of judging when 
the enemy should be met, and by what methods most easily 
defeated. If they had read of war, it was in books which 
gave it such gloss and glamour as made every battle magnifi- 
cent, if not positively delectable, for such, indeed, is the gen- 
eral current of popular history. ISTot so Ramseur, who had 
been taught in the school where the art of war is thoroughly 
explained, the discipline and drudgery of soldier life daily 
seen, and the distinctions and advantages of rank recognized 
and respected